For a Kentucky girl, coming of age takes a leap of faith in a novel that “will knock you sideways with its Southern charm” (O, The Oprah Magazine).
It’s summer in Kentucky. The low ceiling of August is pressing down on the religious town of East Winder, and on thirteen-year-old Charmaine Peake who can’t shake the feeling that she’s being tested. She and her mother get along better with a room between them, but circumstances have forced them to relocate to a tiny trailer by the river. The last in a line of local holy men, Charmaine’s father has turned from prophet to patient, his revelation lost in the clarifying haze of medication. Her sure-minded grandmother has suffered a stroke. And at church, where she has always felt most certain, Charmaine discovers that her archrival, a sanctimonious missionary kid, carries a dark, confusing secret. Suddenly Charmaine’s life can be sorted into what she wishes she knew and what she wishes she didn’t.
In a moving, hilarious portrait of mothers and daughters, “one of the most astonishingly talented writers today,” brings us into the heart of a family weathering the toughest patch of their lives. But most of all, Angela Pneuman marks out the seemingly unbearable realities of growing up, the strength that comes from finding real friendship, and the power of discovering—and accepting—who you are (Julie Orringer).
“Pneuman captures the voice of adolescence and the uncertainty of faith in this endearing novel.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Pneuman is a master of dark comedy, and the grimmer the material, the funnier it becomes in her twisted but capable hands. Like her literary ancestor, Flannery O’Connor, she shows how myopic allegedly religious people can be, but she doesn’t take cheap shots at religion either.” —San Francisco Chronicle