I was so excited when I saw this gem sitting on the new book shelf at work! I am a huge fan of Christopher Paul Curtis’ work, and I couldn’t wait to dig into another chunk of history with him. Curtis has a way of bringing the time period he is writing about to life for his readers. His characters are more than just “people on a page,” they feel like friends. This book centers around the character of Deza Malone, or as her Daddy calls her “Darling Daughter Deza.”
We readers have met Deza before in Curtis’ Newbery Award winning novel Bud, Not Buddy. In this new book, The Mighty Miss Malone, we have the pleasure of seeing what her life was like as a child, and also of meeting her family…the Malone family of Gary, Indiana.
“Twelve-year-old Deza Malone is the smartest student in her class, told by her teachers that she’s destined for a special path in life. Her older brother, Jimmie, is no angel, but he can sing like one, and when he does, people stop to listen. The Great Depression has hit Gary hard, and there are few jobs–especially for black men like Mr. Malone. After their father leaves Gary to find work, Deza, Jimmie, and their mother set out in his wake, always holding out hope that they will catch up to him.” The characters they meet along the way, the hardships they endure as individuals and a family, will make you cheer for this endearing young lady. As Deza and her family always say, “Kisses…kisses…kisses make you stronger.”
Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book…and it only gets better from there!
“Once upon a time…” If I could get away with it, that’s how I’d begin every essay I write. Those are the four best words to use when you start telling about yourself because anything that begins that way always, always finishes with another four words,”…and they lived happily everafter.” An that’s a good ending for any story.”