STARRED REVIEW
February 2015

Friendship in a time of change

By Jonathan Odell
Pre-Civil Rights Mississippi was a place where issues of race and class weighted down air already heavy with humidity. Jonathan Odell takes this complicated setting and throws two young mothers from widely different worlds together.
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Pre-Civil Rights Mississippi was a place where issues of race and class weighted down air already heavy with humidity. Jonathan Odell takes this complicated setting and throws two young mothers from widely different worlds together.

Hazel, a wealthy white woman, and Vida, a poor black woman, are at first only joined by the devastating loss of their children—and their enmity for one another. Vida is frequently harassed by the racist local sheriff, which, combined with the loss of her son, has made her bitter and mistrustful. When Hazel’s husband hires Vida to take care of Hazel after a drunken car crash, close proximity and lack of other companionship force Vida and Hazel to learn to get along. The two team up to turn their town of Delphi, Mississippi, on its head, and watch as change takes place—in their city, their state, their nation and their culture.

This is the third novel from Mississippi native Odell (The Healing), and it draws from his own experience. Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League is quintessentially Southern in its frank discussions of friendship, marriage, family, feminism, grief and redemption.

 

This article was originally published in the February 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League

Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League

By Jonathan Odell
Maiden Lane Press
ISBN 9781940210049

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