Glow, by Jessica Maria Tuccelli
This is a tough book to review. I found the writing to be absolutely exquisite. At first, I thought this would be a four- or five-star book for sure. The story starts with Ella McGee, daughter of NAACP activist Amelia McGee, who is put on a bus down south to Georgia in 1941. Unfortunately, the bus breaks down and she is left stranded--and soon beat up by two strangers--on the side of the road. She's rescued by former slave Willie Mae Cotton and her partner, Mary-Mary Freeborn. Starts on an intriguing note, right?
Ella is part Cherokee and part African-American. The book description promises that it traverses Ella's family history. It does indeed do that, in the form of beautiful individual stories of various people closely or distantly related to her or Willie Mae. Tuccelli deftly tells each story in a distinctly different voice based on her character. The descriptions and language were colorful and vivid.
Mother love is a strong theme throughout the book.
Where the book fell short for me, though, was that it never adequately circled back to Amelia and Ella. Rather it was almost a book of interwoven short stories...and I'm no fan of short stories in general.
I loved so much about this book, but I wanted more out of it, and it fell short of what I was expecting it to be.