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The Dry Grass of August

A touching coming of age story set among the turmoil of overt discrimination and racial tensions in the Deep South in the 1950’s.



Road Trip! It’s a hot August in 1954 and thirteen year old Jubie Watts, her family and their maid are all headed to Pensacola, Florida in their Packard. Everyone except Jubie’s dad is going. Jubie’s sister, Stell just got her drivers license and can’t wait to share the driving with Jubie’s mom. Sitting in the back with Jubie and her siblings is Mary Luther is the Watts’ black maid, who has been cooking and cleaning for the family as long as Jubie can remember. As the family travels from Charlotte NC across Southern Georgia, Jubie cannot help but become aware of the anti-integration signs and discrimination that exist everywhere they stop. And then tragedy strikes. Jubie, overcome with grief and her own moral convictions, takes action into her own hands. Showing independence and courage, Jubie does what is right and is transformed.


THE DRY GRASS OF AUGUST is a touching chronicle of a period of time in Jubie’s life that would forever define who she would be. It’s a coming of age story emanating from a tragic event. My favorite part of the book was Jubie’s compassion, strength and growing awareness of the world she lives in. Jubie’s relationship with Mary was typical of girls raised in the South by a working or distant mother. I appreciated Mary’s role of quiet strength.

The writing was good, and it was a quick read. I struggled slightly with the chapter jumping back and forth in time, but I generally liked the way the story was told. There were a multitude of characters and issues brought out in the book including child abuse, infidelity, rape, racism, suicide, and embezzlement just to name a few, and as a result the story branched in many different directions. This is ANNA JEAN MAYHEW’s debut novel, which was an eighteen year process. Thanks to Netgalley, Kensington and Anna Jean Mayhew for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher Kensington Books

Published January 29, 2019

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