This book is raw and real. It is the harsh reality of living in the poor regions of the Gulf if Mexico. Ward’s storytelling is unique and descriptive. The main character Esch is a young teen and pregnant. Her mom died in childbirth with her youngest brother, Junior. At times it feels like there’s something missing from the story but Esch doesn’t have the words and experiences to explain everything.
Set in Mississippi in the days leading up to Katrina and the day if the storm and the day after, the four kids go through their normal daily activities while Daddy gets ready for the incoming storm. As the hurricane builds, so does the tension surrounding Esch and her family. Esch is unsuccessfully hiding her emerging pregnancy, Daddy is trying to prep tge truck and the House before the storm hits, and Skeeter, is trying to care for his sick pit bull, China, who just had puppies.
Ward uses unusual imagery and descriptions along with duality to show the cruelness and the hidden humanity of life in rural Mississippi. At the moment that Daddy slices his fingers off on a tractor, China snaps the neck of one of her puppies. This world is cruel and rough. The neighborhood kids are blunt and callous with each other. Manny ignores Esch and her growing stomach, while Skeetah uses unfounded medical advice to care for his dogs.
I struggled with parts of the storyline. Esch’s pregnancy and seemingly unawareness that Manny is not interested in a relationship. I struggled with Skeetah and his protector role while still fighting China.