Fifteen is an unlucky number for Ginny Slocumb. It’s the age that she gave birth to her daughter Liza and the age that Liza gave birth to her own daughter Mosey shortly before disappearing for two and a half years. Now that Mosey’s turned fifteen, things aren’t looking much better: Liza recently suffered a debilitating stroke and the process of digging up a tree in the back yard to install a rehabilitative pool yields a shocking discovery: the remains of an infant buried inside a silver box. Told from alternating points of view, the book is an examination of the lengths that the three generations of Slocumb women will go to in order to protect each other and learn the truth held inside that silver box.
I was wary at first. I really only chose this book from the library because the options were so limited and I assumed that it would be a quick read. A lot of southern women’s fiction with cutesy titles tends to sound the same, but here I found myself pleasantly surprised. Though the construct of a stroke sidelining the one person with all the answers is a little too convenient, the mystery at the heart of the story is very complex and Jackson does a nice job unraveling it for us. There were several points where I assumed I’d figured out what was going on, but there was always more going on than I thought.
Ginny and Mosey are such complex, vivid characters and it’s hard not to root for them. Ginny just wants to stop the past from repeating itself again, to break that cycle that punished her and her daughter. Mosey’s a child limited by that cycle, but she’s fierce and independent and her narration frequently made me laugh out loud. And it’s all set in a realistic Southern town. Though I grew up in the place where the Midwest meets Appalachia, I could definitely see shades of familiarity in the Alabama town.
Though for some reason, I couldn’t stop imagining Lawrence as Louis C.K.’s character from Parks and Rec
. I don’t know why…I just couldn’t.
Either way, I definitely plan on checking out more Joshilyn Jackson.