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>Worth Repeating: Velva Jean Learns to Drive

August 18, 2010


Not just for the words, but for the time and the setting. I may have been raised in California, but I was born in Dixie, in the shadow of the mountains where this book was set.

I lay back in bed and tried to caonjure Mama’s face and her voice and her smell before the sickness. It was hard to think of her lying alone outside in the deep, dark earth, while we were inside where it was cozy. I lay there and pieced her back together as best I could – her bright smile; the way her eyes lit up when she sang; her long, curling hair, the color of winter leaves; the way her face was shaped like a heart, just like mine. I waited till she was fixed in my mind and then I shut my eyes. Just like that her face was gone, but I could still feel the cold of the river water on my flesh and I could still hear her sweet, pure voice filling the holler down by Three Gum River, alive with the spirit of God.

Granny said Mama had answered the call of death’s angel. I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but I thought it sounded wonderful and grand and brave. It sounded just like my mama.

Velva Jean Learns to Drive
by Jennifer Niven

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 18, 2010 5:02 pm

    >What a heartbreaking and beautiful excerpt. I love recommendations for new fiction!

  2. August 19, 2010 5:48 am

    >Lots of hugs to you – from kass

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