Whistling Past the Graveyard

By Susan Crandall
(Gallery Books, Hardcover, 9781476707723, 320pp.)

Publication Date: July 2, 2013

List Price: $24.99*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the July 2013 Indie Next List
“Fall in love with spunky Starla Claudelle, who runs away from a strict grandmother in 1963 Mississippi to find the mother she hasn't seen since she was three. As she journeys with a black woman named Eula, Starla has her eyes opened to larger issues of race and segregation. This wonderful novel will be devoured by book clubs and will cause every parent who finishes it to immediately find and hug their children. -Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction”
-- Jill Hendrix, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC
Selected by Indie Booksellers for the July 2013 Indie Next List
Selected by Indie Booksellers for the July 2013 Indie Next List


Description

In the summer of 1963, nine-year-old spitfire Starla Claudelle runs away from her strict grandmother’s Mississippi home. Starla hasn’t seen her momma since she was three—that’s when Lulu left for Nashville to become a famous singer. Starla’s daddy works on an oil rig in the Gulf, so Mamie, with her tsk-tsk sounds and her bitter refrain of “Lord, give me strength,” is the nearest thing to family Starla has. After being put on restriction yet again for her sassy mouth, Starla is caught sneaking out for the Fourth of July parade. She fears Mamie will make good on her threat to send Starla to reform school, so Starla walks to the outskirts of town, and just keeps walking. . . . If she can get to Nashville and find her momma, then all that she promised will come true: Lulu will be a star. Daddy will come to live in Nashville, too. And her family will be whole and perfect. Walking a lonely country road, Starla accepts a ride from Eula, a black woman traveling alone with a white baby. The trio embarks on a road trip that will change Starla’s life forever. She sees for the first time life as it really is—as she reaches for a dream of how it could one day be.




About the Author
Susan Crandall is a critically acclaimed author of women's fiction, romance, and suspense. She has written several award-winning novels including her first book, "Back Roads", which won the RITA award for best first book, as well as "Whistling Past the Graveyard", which won the SIBA 2014 Book Award for Fiction. Susan lives in Noblesville, Indiana, with her family.


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. By telling the story from Starla’s point of view, we get to look at the South in 1963 through the eyes of a child. Why do you think the author chose a child narrator? What do you think this adds to the story? How do you think the book would be different if it were told from the perspective of someone like Eula or Lulu?

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