The Member of the Wedding

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Carson McCullers, 1946; reviewed audio published by Audible, Inc. 2012

It is hot in the South in August 1944.

Frankie Addams, just entering adolescence,  is bored and ostracized by her former friends. Her only companions are Bereneice, the maid who works for Frankie and her father, and Frankie’s six-year-old cousin John Henry. Frankie’s brother, her hero, is getting married, and Frankie has decided she will be taking part.

This book was published in 1946 by an author from the American South. It also takes place in the American South, and as such, race is a theme whether the author meant it to be or not. Bereneice the maid is Black, and Frankie does spend some time in the area in which most of the town’s African Americans live.  Read or listen to the book and draw your own conclusions; this book would be one choice for a book discussion group looking to explore historical attitudes about race in the United States, especially in the South.

Since the audiobook was published by Audible, I don’t know if you can get it at independent sellers – but you could try your library. The audio version is not to be missed, at any rate; narrator Susan Sarandon’s voice brings Frankie to life.

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