There’s one word that I come back to again and again when I read a book written by Christopher Paul Curtis: craftsmanship. Curtis’ skill as a writer, his gift with storytelling and character development, and his awesome ability to reach through the printed page into the hearts and minds of his readers all combine into the mark of a true literary craftsman. I’ve never been disappointed, been left wanting, or felt as though one of his books was swiftly pulled together to meet a deadline. Instead, each page, each character, and each place is built slowly, carefully, lovingly, until the final product is something to be savored, shared, and celebrated.
And so it is again with The Mighty Miss Malone. For the first time, Curtis tells a story through the eyes of a young girl – the spirited, smart, and plucky Deza Malone – and despite his own initial misgivings, has created a character as well-rounded, rich and human as any boy in any of his other books. Set in the depths of the Great Depression – 1936 & 1937 – Deza and her loving family are struggling to stay afloat and together in Gary, Indiana. Deza is the smartest girl in school; her older brother Jimmie is a breath-takingly talented singer; her mother is patient, hard working and the “glue” of the family; and her father is a loving, smart man who has not had steady work for many years. Soon after her father leaves the family to find work, Deza, Jimmie and their mother set off to find him, knowing that keeping the family together is the most important thing they can do. The hardships they face on the road test Deza’s resolve and her faith, but her plucky spirit, belief in herself and her family, and smarts help her earn the nickname her father gave her: “The Mighty Miss Malone.”
- Posted by Cori