|Plot Summary of Chalktown|
Hyperion, May 2001, 23.95, 448 pp.
In 1961, , Mississippi is a tiny village consisting of mostly a dirt road lined by the shanty homes of sharecroppers. Families communicate with their neighbors mostly through chalkboards that hang off the front porches of their houses.
Just down a spell from CHALKTOWN lives the dysfunctional and impoverish Sheehand family, whose patriarch deserted them several years ago. Abusive mother Susan loosely raises her three children. However, in reality, the nearest thing to positive nurturing is sixteen year old teenager Hezekiah, who tries to help his rash sister Arena and his mentally incompetent brother Yellababy.
However, Hez seeks adventure perhaps to hide from his dismal existence. With Yellababy tied to his back, he journeys to the local metropolis of CHALKTOWN, planning to uncover the mysteries of the community as a means of escaping his gloomy present and his ugly past with seemingly nothing but a drab helpless future to come. However, with the hopefulness of the young, he will still seek a brighter future.
CHALKTOWN is a period piece that brings to life the late fifties and early sixties in rural Mississippi. However, the story line is that and more as it is a coming of age tale as Hez finds the eternal optimism of youth that one person can change the future for the better. With this novel and MOTHER OF PEARL, Melinda Haynes is stepping closer to earning the Faulkner mantle of consistent superb writer of the Southern novel.
Harriet Klausner, Resident Scholar
|Review Analysis of Chalktown|
Our unique search engine provides a wealth of detail about books by breaking them down into many different literary elements, all of which are searchable (click here).
Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Tone of book?
Time/era of story
Kids growing up/acting up?
Kind of living:
- general poverty story
Family, caring for ill
Who is sick?
because he/she is
- mentally ill
Is this an adult or child's book?
- Adult or Young Adult Book
- a teen
Is this an ordinary person caught up in events?
- White (American)
How sensitive is this character?
- sensitive to others' feelings
Sense of humor
- Mostly serious with occasional humor
- Average intelligence
- average physique
- Deep South
- mostly 3rd
Accounts of torture and death?
- no torture/death
- a lot of stream of consciousness
Amount of dialog
- roughly even amounts of descript and dialog
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Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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