An absolutely riveting and moving book, I’m so glad I chose to read The Girl At The Back Of The Bus and would recommend it to you.
The Girl At The Back Of The Bus
I watched in awe as Miz Rosa stopped those men on the bus with her clear, calm “no” and I thought about that word. What if I said no? What if I refused to follow the path these White folks wanted for us? What if I kept this precious baby?
Montgomery, Alabama, 1955
On a cold December evening, Mattie Banks packs a suitcase and leaves her family home. Sixteen years old and pregnant, she has already made the mistake that will ruin her life and disgrace her widowed mother. Boarding the 2857 bus, she sits with her case on her lap, hoping that the driver will take her away from disaster. Instead, Mattie witnesses an act of bravery by a woman named Rosa Parks that changes everything. But as Mattie strives to turn her life around, the dangers that first led her to run are never far away. Forging a new life in a harsh world at constant risk of exposure, Mattie will need to fight to keep her baby safe.
Atlanta, Georgia, present day
Ashlee Turner is going home. Her relationship in ruins, her career held back by prejudice, she is returning to the family who have always been her rock. But Ashlee’s home is not the safe haven she remembers. Her beloved grandmother is dying and is determined to share her story before she leaves…
When Ashlee finds a stack of yellowing letters hidden in her nana’s closet, she can’t help the curiosity that compels her to read, and she uncovers an old secret that could wreak havoc on her already grieving family. As she tries to make sense of what she has learned, Ashlee faces a devastating choice: to protect her loved ones from the revelations, or honor her grandmother’s wishes and follow the path to the truth, no matter where it may lead.
For readers of The Help, Orphan Train and Before We Were Yours comes a beautiful and heartbreaking novel about redemption, family secrets and the spirit of survival found at the hardest time.
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A moving story of generations of strong, Black women standing up for themselves despite all odds.
The story moves between Mattie in 1955 and thereafter and her granddaughter, Ashlee in present times. But it’s also the story of Mattie’s mother, Dorothy and Ashlee’s mother, Savannah.
Fifteen year old, Mattie, pregnant and scared and on her way to get an abortion witnesses Miz Rosa Parks stand up to the bus driver and refuse to give up her seat on the bus to a white man. This was the start of a quiet, yet very strong Civil Rights movement in America. I love how the author used this historical incident as the catalyst for Mattie’s own journey of standing up for justice.
Back to Ashlee, an up and coming lawyer, who comes back home to sort out herself and to be with her dying grandmother, Mattie. She discovers hidden letters of her grandmother from decades earlier. As she learns her grandmother’s story, Ashlee gathers courage and strength to make the necessary changes in her life.
The author didn’t hold back from telling us that racial discrimination continues to exist despite the passage of time, but there are women and men willing to stand up and fight against it.
Beautiful strong characters, a great story line, the warm love of family and some brilliant conversations made sure book that’s going to stay with me for a very, very long time.
Suzette D. Harrison, a native Californian and the middle of three daughters, grew up in a home where reading was required, not requested. Her literary “career” began in junior high school with the publishing of her poetry. While Suzette pays homage to Alex Haley, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker, Langston Hughes, and Toni Morrison as legends who inspired her creativity, it was Dr. Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings that unleashed her writing. The award-winning author of Taffy is a wife and mother of two teens, and she holds a culinary degree in pastry and baking. Mrs. Harrison is currently cooking up her next novel…in between batches of cupcakes.
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Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.
1 thought on “The Girl At The Back Of The Bus”
Corrine, thank you for your beautiful and heartfelt review. I’m glad Mattie and Ashlee’s journey resonated with you.