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The Dry Grass of August

Narrated by: Karen White
Length: 9 hrs and 31 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (142 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this beautifully written debut, Anna Jean Mayhew offers a riveting depiction of Southern life in the throes of segregation and what it will mean for a young girl on her way to adulthood - and for the woman who means the world to her.

On a scorching day in August 1954, 13-year-old Jubie Watts leaves Charlotte, North Carolina, with her family for a Florida vacation. Crammed into the Packard along with Jubie are her three siblings, her mother, and the family’s black maid, Mary Luther. For as long as Jubie can remember, Mary has been there - cooking, cleaning, compensating for her father’s rages and her mother’s benign neglect, and loving Jubie unconditionally.

Bright and curious, Jubie takes note of the anti-integration signs they pass and of the racial tension that builds as they journey further south. But she could never have predicted the shocking turn their trip will take. Now, in the wake of tragedy, Jubie must confront her parents’ failings and limitations, decide where her own convictions lie, and make the tumultuous leap to independence.

Infused with the intensity of a changing time, here is a story of hope, heartbreak, and the love and courage that can transform us from child to adult, wounded to indomitable.

©2011 Anna Jean Mayhew (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“A haunting debut…Ms. Mayhew creates authentic characters and a Southern setting that will make you feel and smell a summer day from half a century ago.” (Karen White, New York Times best-selling author)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Solid story and performance

Good but not great story of the South in the 50s. A bit predictable. Characters are believable, but a bit cliched.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Depressing and Predictable

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

The main character was honest and believable. Supporting characters were uppity and a bit over the top.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

The story was very predictable. It seems as though the author was trying to recreate "The Help" but from a different perspective.

Which character – as performed by Karen White – was your favorite?

The narrator was very good. I would buy another book performed by Karen White.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

I found this story to be poignant and difficult to put away when it was time to do other tasks. The characters were so lovely, and June’s story so sad. The times for blacks in the south are often lost on those of us raised by liberal parents in the hey day of California’s hippie movement. This story was able to shine a real light. I highly recommend.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Reflection of the 1950’s

A piece of fiction that could have been an autobiography, Anna Jean Mayhew artfully presented life as it was in the 1950’s for blacks. She also does a nice job at at presenting the purity of a teenager who looked at people for who they were not what they were.

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A 1950's Coming of Age story

Jubie grew up thinking of her family's black maid, Mary, as just another human being. A friend, even. As she grows, she discovers that the world, especially her father, holds a very different view of people who aren't white.

This book held my interest, although I wish that the character of Jubie's father wasn't so one dimensional. I preferred how Harper Lee handled this in her first novel, "Go Set a Watchman". Atticus Finch was revealed to be a racist but he wasn't a 100% villain. People are not 100% good or 100% bad.

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A Wonderful Book!

Characters were great and description of the local area during those times was spot on.

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Great book!

I thought this book was excellent. The story was compelling and the narration was perfect. Another great story about the horrors of the civil rights situation in the south in the 1950's. Also fun to drive around Charlotte, NC as I listened.