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Callie Anne wasn’t looking forward to yet another boring summer at the drive-in theater her father managed, but was it really going to be boring?
Callie Anne was pleasantly surprised that this summer was completely unlike any other summer once Memphis arrived. She was twelve, and Memphis was a drifter that had been hired to help her father with some of the chores at the drive-in. Callie Anne was enamored by Memphis, but didn't like how he seemed to care for her mother more than he cared for her. He was always polite to Callie Anne and her mother...so much nicer than her father who was gruff and condescending to them both.
The book centers on Callie Anne and her life with her domineering father and agoraphobic mother. Callie Anne is an endearing, innocent, tomboyish character and is the story's narrator. Through the author's skill, you can feel Callie Anne’s emotions when things happen to her...things that were caused either by her father's cruelty or from her mother's fears of venturing outside the house. Descriptions of the characters, their feelings, and every day events are very vivid and at times gripping. It is an enticing read that took me back to the time of drive-in movies and stay-at-home moms.
Callie Anne's mother, Teal, is a pathetic woman that you can't feel anything but sorrow for. She won't leave the house because of her fears, and her husband, Claude, is always critical to the point of being cruel to her.
Claude is not a likeable person at all...you will want to put him in his place. Memphis is a likeable character and brings a different component to the story....sweetness but wariness on the part of the reader. A few minor folks appear at times and add that extra touch needed to round out certain scenes. Aunt Bliss was Teal's rough sister and Virgil was the concession stand worker. Both Aunt Bliss and Virgil helped add essence to the story and to Callie Anne's character.
The book is a quick, nostalgic read that begins in Callie Anne’s adult life during a police investigation occurring on the drive-in’s property and then shifts to Callie Anne’s childhood. Her childhood is the main focus of the book, and is the connection to the opening pages. I truly enjoyed the book's theme, the characters, and the storyline. The storyline was indeed interesting because it combined bitter and sweet, nostalgia, childhood fears, suspense, innocence of the era, and misfortune on each character's part each in his/her way.