I had absolutely no interest in reading this book. I hate poetry. It is too self-important for my tastes. I didn’t care how many awards it won or how many Best Of lists it showed up on. But then it showed up in my neighborhood’s Free Little Library so I decided that I might as well look at it.

I took it home and read the first chapter and thought, “Oh, shit, it is good.” Then I read the whole thing.

It is the story of a girl born in 1963 in Ohio who moved to South Carolina to her grandparents’ house at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Eventually they move to New York but still spend summers in the south so they have to adapt to how they are supposed to behave in each location.

The writing draws you into her world without being showy. It is definitely worth a read even if poetry isn’t your thing.