Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Book Review: Going Down South

Description: From the author of The Middle Sister comes a heartwarming tale of second chances and the unparalleled love between mothers and daughters.When fifteen-year-old Olivia Jean finds herself in the “family way,” her mother, Daisy, who has never been very maternal, springs into action. Daisy decides that Olivia Jean can’t stay in New York and whisks her away to her grandmother’s farm in Alabama to have the baby–even though Daisy and her mother, Birdie, have been estranged for years. When they arrive, Birdie lays down the law: Sure, her granddaughter can stay, but Daisy will have to stay as well. Though Daisy is furious, she has no choice. Now, under one little roof in the 1960s Deep South, three generations of spirited, proud women are forced to live together. One by one, they begin to lose their inhibitions and share their secrets. And as long-guarded truths emerge, a baby is born–a child with the power to turn these virtual strangers into a real, honest-to-goodness family.

GOING DOWN SOUTH by Bonnie Glover is a wonderful novel about the connection between mothers and daughters and one that every woman will connect to in some way. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and had trouble putting it down. From the start, when I was drawn to the cover of the little girls innocent hands melted my heart! Every time I picked up the book, it reminded me of the innocence of children and childhood and how quickly that innocence can be lost. This is a story about three generations of women who are all strong, feisty and driven. Through lifes circumstances, they are forced to confront their pasts and to make peace and accept one another.

I adored the three women in the story for many different reasons. I liked how the author showed how Olivia Jean, Daisy and Birdie grew and matured as women and how their lives came back full circle to reunite them in the end. There was a wonderful sense of humor and southern style that I enjoyed. I adored Olivia Jean's innocence and wisdom for a young girl. Daisy hadn't realized that the past was holding on to her so tight that to grow she had to release it. Birdie had a bright and vivacious tenacity about her which touched those around her. She was the magnet that drew the women together and helped them to grow as women/mothers. All of the women had a life lesson to learn. I found myself laughing out loud in some parts and then teary-eyed at others. The author wrote the story from the perspectives of these three women and was able to go back and forth between them with great ease. It was an easy story to follow even though there were no paragraphs but just 3 sections from each characters perspective. This worked very well and the story flowed smoothly and effortlessly.

The male characters were mainly in the background which made the book quite interesting. The women were the main focus and the men that were in the story showed a full range of character.
You had the despicable/evil men and the selfish/dishonest men but there were also several men of strong character and strength who showed great love for these women...my favorites were Shorty and Lupe. I believe that this was done to focus on the women and their stories and their own self discovery about how the men that they have chosen effect their lives.

The time period of the book was based in the 50's and 60's and it shared the challenges of the times for black women in New York and in the Deep South of Alabama, a time of segregation.
The story was told with great respect of this time period.

This is the kind of book that stays with you. I have already finished the book and yet I find myself thinking of the characters and smile as they touched my life by reading their story. I felt a connection to them as a mother and daughter myself. I look forward to reading more books by Bonnie Glover.

This would make a wonderful women's book club discussion book. There are so many themes to discuss related to mothers/daughters, parenting, male/female relationships, racism, abuse, teenage pregnancy, secrets/honesty and more that would make a fascinating discussion. There is a readers guide and author interview in the back of the book which would enhance any discussion. There are excerpts of the book and interviews with the author at her website.


  1. oh Lovely review there!!

    I would love to get this book for me :)

  2. I'll pop back to your review after I read the book-it should be coming soon.

  3. Bonnie .. it sounds like a heartwarming story. What you write about this book reminds me of how I felt when I read the Secret Life of Bees. I just wanted to go down South and be with August and those honey cakes. I love books where the women are in the foreground. I love Mother/daughter/sister books as well.
    Thanks for the great review

  4. This book is headed my way for reviewing. It sounds great! Awesome review!

    I'm with Toni...I love mother/daughter/sister books. I've been drawn to them lately. Perhaps it's because I don't get to see my mom and sisters as often as I'd like to! :(

  5. I love books with strong female characters & relationships.

    I'm looking forward to this book.

    Great review, Bonnie.

  6. Great review!

    I really enjoyed this book as well. Glover created some strong, memorable characters.

    I added your link to my review, which is here:

    I also had a chance to interview Bonnie for my blog.



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