I’ll admit it: I judged a book by its cover. As I was shelving Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow, I felt compelled to bring it home and start reading. I sped through Stringfellow’s debut novel because I was invested in the characters and hooked on the premise.
The book starts in summer of 1995 with 10-year-old Joan and her family fleeing their father’s angry outbursts. Joan, her mother and sister, Mya, escape to her mother’s childhood home in Memphis. Joan’s aunt lives in the house with her son, Derek, but they welcome back family with open arms. The transition is not seamless for Joan, who battles a dark memory in the ancestral home.
Part of what makes Memphis a gripping read is that the points of view alternate over 70 years. While Joan, Miriam, Auntie August and Grandma Hazel lead unique lives throughout history, common threads permanently link them.
Margaret Gardner is the senior library manager at the R.H. Stafford Library in Woodbury. Find more to read at washcolib.org.