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On a scorching day in August 1954, thirteen-year-old Jubie Watts leaves Charlotte, North Carolina, with her family for a Florida vacation. Crammed into the Packard along with Jubie are her three siblings, her mother, and the family's black maid, Mary Luther. For as long as Jubie can remember, Mary has been there - cooking, cleaning, compensating for her father's rages and her mother's benign neglect, and loving Jubie unconditionally. Bright and curious, Jubie takes note of the anti-integration signs they pass, and of the racial tension that builds as they journey further south. But she could never have predicted the shocking turn their trip will take. Now, in the wake of tragedy, Jubie must confront her parents' failings and limitations, decide where her own convictions lie, and make the tumultuous leap to independence...Infused with the intensity of a changing time, here is a story of hope, heartbreak, and the love and courage that can transform us - from child to adult, from wounded to indomitable.
Q: You're a seventy-one-year-old first-time novelist. What made you decide to write a novel at this age?
A: Actually, I didn't get such a late start; my first national publication was a short story when I was forty-five. That was so thrilling that I decided maybe this writing business was something I should take seriously. Then life happened and it was another two years before I wrote the first paragraph--in 1987--of what became The Dry ...