One Mississippi Author:Mark Childress A week before his sixteenth birthday Daniel Musgrove comes home from an afternoon spent with friends trying to get high on DDT fumes to discover his father has just been transferred to a new sales territory in Mississippi. The news was not exactly welcome as Danny, his older brother Buddy and sister Janie were quite happy with their lives in Ind... more »iana. Determined to make the best of things proved difficult from the start and didn?t get much better until Danny starts school and makes friends with Tim, another misfit. His days are spent trying to fit in while mowing three acres worth of lawn, a daunting task that never sees completion.
Together Danny and Tim negotiate their troubled, often turbulent junior year of high school including a face-to-face encounter with Cher during a Sonny and Cher concert. They practice their hearts out in a controversial Baptist production of Christ! that plays once before a less then appreciative audience. The big annual high school band competition reveals the depth of misunderstanding between the newly integrated black students and the white band leader as well as the discovery of a gay guy in their midst.
All of these milestones pale in comparison to their unforgettable prom night in which Danny manages to become entangled in a seatbelt, develop a memorable bloody nose and experience his first kiss. That?s just for starters, what follows the prom will change lives and haunt them both until Tim reaches the point of no return that will involve everyone in their small Mississippi town.
What starts off as a rather humorous 70?s coming of age tale evolves into something much darker as undercurrents of racism, homophobia and a horrible accident begin surfacing. Childress recreates the southern atmosphere complete with the accents and attitude that adds a nice depth to the story, narrated by Danny. He is given some harsh lessons that leave the reader pondering the nature of life and the impact of a careless act. A quick read, this is one of Childress?s best offerings to date.« less