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Writer’s Work Reflects Memories of Growing Up in Segregated South

By Jef Blocker
Meet author Anna Jean Mayhew, author of The Dry Grass of August, on Tuesday, April 5 at 7:30 pm at Bound To Be Read Books.
Beautifully written and heart-wrenching, Mayhew’s first novel introduces a remarkable heroine in Jubie, whose narration brings this astonishing, shocking, and ultimately inspiring story to life. In August 1954, 13-year-old Jubie Watts leaves Charlotte, North Carolina with her family for a beach vacation. Traveling with them is the family maid, Mary Luther.
For as long as Jubie can remember, Mary has been there—cooking, cleaning, and compensating for her father’s rages and her mother’s benign neglect. Mary has long been Jubie’s only source of unconditional love, doing her best to make up for Mary’s parents’ neglect. She is both Jubie’s confidante and friend.
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. Jubie notices that people’s attitudes towards Mary are quite different than they are back home in Charlotte, 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.
Mayhew, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, has never lived outside the state, although she often travels to Europe with her Swiss-born husband. Mayhew has been a member of the same writing group since 1987, is a writer-in-residence at The Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities, and is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Writers’ Network.

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