By Christopher Paul Curtis
Random House Children’s Books, $15.99, 307 pages
Deza Malone has something to prove to the world and she goes about it with wit and panache, not to mention a little help from her thesaurus. The brightest colored girl in Gary, Indiana, Deza is poised to accomplish great things. But the Malones have been hit hard by the Great Depression and after a boating accident that left him injured both physically and emotionally, Mr. Malone leaves home to look for work in Flint, Michigan. Soon the rest of the family, evicted from their rental, follows. They settle in a camp outside Flint, but the Malone patriarch is nowhere to be found and doesn’t write. Despite their seemingly grim situation, the Malones fight to stay strong, stay positive and stay together.
Award-winning author Christopher Paul Curtis has created another lovable, utterly believable and charmingly flawed character in his latest masterpiece, The Mighty Miss Malone. The book is a touching portrayal of a family struggling during the 1930s, though it is more hopeful than depressing. The Malones do not suffer from naivety, but their optimism and faith in family is an emotive lesson in rising above challenges. Curtis’ humor will certainly elicit chuckles and the history seamlessly inserted into the story provides the reader with an understanding of what everyday life may have been like for an African-American family during the Great Depression.
Reviewed by Andrea Klein