My enjoyment rating: 2 .5 of 5 stars
Book hangover rating: 0 of 5 stars
Source: Copy provided by the author (I was not compensated in any way for my review)
Genre: Fiction; Arkansas fiction
Objectionable material: some minor language
Lee Addison is coming home to spend time with family and begin his summer legal clerkship with a local law firm. But little did he know his summer in Riverton Arkansas would be far more complicated: his sister needs legal counsel when charged with a hit and run, his summer case work involves the suspicious death of a local minority teen, and things might not be quite over with his high school girlfriend, Annie.
Marcia Kemp Sterling has written an appealing novel about family, ethics and choices.
With expertise she has written what it’s like to live in a small town – neighbors, gossip, history, family. She especially captures the racial issues in Arkansas that continue to this day.
However, two of the main threads of the story – the death of Dewaine Washington and the hit & run charges against Lee’s sister, MJ – felt incomplete.
As Lee was researching evidence for the Washington case, I was expecting a John Grisham-like novel to unfold, but the case was solved quickly, before the first half of the book was over.
And MJs issues were written as if SHE was the victim and not the child she hit. For me, it made no sense, and a tad bit angry.
One character who was superbly written was Etta, the black neighbor. She spoke with wisdom and sereneness. A woman who had seen and experienced plenty of Arkansas racism.
One Summer in Arkansas was a satisfactory read – but not without a few storyline issues.