Paperback: 288 pages
Release Date: May 27, 2014
On a scorching August day in 1963, seven-year-old Annie Banks meets the girl who will become her best friend. Skinny, outspoken Starr Dukes and her wandering preacher father may not be accepted by polite society in Jackson, Mississippi, but Annie and Starr are too busy sharing secrets and playing elaborate games of Queen for a Day to care. Then, as suddenly as she appeared in Annie's life, Starr disappears.
Annie grows up to follow the path ordained for pretty, well-to-do Jackson women--marrying an ambitious lawyer, filling her days with shopping and charity work. She barely recognizes Starr when they meet twenty-seven years after that first fateful summer, but the bond formed so long ago quickly reemerges. Starr, pregnant by a powerful married man who wants her to get out of town, has nowhere to turn. And Annie, determined not to fail her friend this time, agrees to drive Starr to New Orleans to get money she's owed.
During the eventful road trip that follows, Annie will confront the gap between friendship and responsibility; between her safe, ordered existence and the dreams she's grown accustomed to denying.
For many of us, do "the right thing" is a mantra that has been a part of our lives since childhood and Annie Banks is no exception. Annie finds herself struggling between what is "right" for her and what is "right" for her according to others, and no matter what choices are made, others are always affected by these choices. For every action there is a reaction....and a consequence. For years, Annie has lived her life according to the southern expectations set forth by Jackson, Mississippi society, but a chance encounter with her childhood friend, Starr, suddenly makes Annie realize that being herself is the best decision she can possibly make. The Right Thing is a story of friendship, love, coming of age, and self-reflection, as well as consequences. The story navigates between 1963 and 1990 with ease and grace that allows the reader to be swept away between the pages filled with southern charm, wit, and of course, southern dialect that only true southern writer can capture. A wonderful debut novel from a very talented and gifted storyteller that I hope to read more from in the near future. The Right Thing would make an excellent reading group choice and comes complete with discussion questions as well. FOUR stars!