Mother of Pearl by Melinda Hayes
In the 1950's, small-town Mississippi, there were still racial divides. In the coloured part of town is Even Grade, a black man who is an orphan and only a few friends. Across the river is Valuable Korner, whose grandmother recently passed away so her mom came back to take care of her but is known to the whole town as a whore. The story revolves around these two and eventually their stories merge. Val is experiencing teenage love with her only friend Jackson and becomes pregnant right before he leaves town when his family moves. Even tries to hook up his elderly friend Canaan and falls in love with Joody who can see things that will happen in the future.
This book is part of Oprah's book club, and as such I expect a bit of a slog through the book but with reward at the end. This is probably one of the worst Oprah's books I've read. The writing is unnecessarily heavy and it takes forever to get through when it really doesn't have to. The story could have been much simpler, with less characters, and probably could have resulted in the same end result.
I feel like there was lots of alternative meanings and symbolism included in this book but the reader has to work much too hard to figure it all out. I'm a rather lazy reader. I want to be entertained by a book and don't want to think too hard on it. This book didn't give me this at all. And because I wasn't willing to do the work to figure it out, I didn't understand all of what was going on. I'm actually surprised at myself that I finished the book.
From the other reviews I've read, it looks like this is a love it or hate it book so I guess I'm on the hate it side!
First Line: "EvenGrade walked past the spot on the bridge where Canaan caught the bottle with his head and saw the blood mark was still there, but just barely."