I’ve been trying to write this review for days. Usually I can get my thoughts together and have something ready to go, but not the case with this one. I think I’m still trying to figure out how exactly I felt about this book. I guess I just need to give it a go…
Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.
It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy—an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.
Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.
I will start with this. The narrator was really funny. She had quite a few hilarious lines and the ways she processed things made me chuckle on more than one occasion. I love a funny narrator. I appreciated the unique aspects of the story (even if I thought her comic book story was added more than necessary, as it broke up the flow for me).
But even with its unique bits, there were too many pieces that when all was revealed, I wasn’t impressed. I get what the author was working towards (and the issues she wanted to deal with), but I struggled. Maybe it was how the issues, like race, were dealt with, but overall I wasn’t much of a fan. I also know that’s vague, but don’t want to spoil anything.
Have you read any of Jackson’s books?
(Heads up: Adult themes and minor language)
(This was a Summer pick for SheReads.org. Thank you to She Reads and William Morrow for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)