Ever read a book that haunted you? One that would not, no matter how you tried, allow you to put it down until the last page was read? If it’s been awhile since you’ve had that type of a reading experience, then it’s time to read Sandrine’s Letter to Tomorrow by Dedra Johnson.
Sandrine, a girl of nine living in New Orleans in the mid-1970′s, has had to grow up much faster than any little girl should have to do. Her mother makes it painfully clear she was never wanted and has interfered in her mother’s life in every way possible. Her father loves her, but only from a distance. She seems to be tossed aside carelessly by everyone who is supposed to love and care for her; no one protects her.
Written in first person, Sandrine is a very real character from page one. Despite the fact that it is told through the eyes of a child, the voice is intelligent and mature for her years. But Sandrine is still only a child. The reader will understand much more of what is happening in Sandrine’s life than she does. Sandrine is taken through difficulties no child should experience, including racism (even among her own family due to her light skin) sexual assault, and child abuse.
Dedra Johnson has a unique voice, and with her skills at writing page-turning narrative, I’m certain it’s only a matter of time before we hear more from her. Her work has an appeal that can easily hook you; with the right promotion, hers will become more than just another book on the shelf. I’m not the only one who feels this way – she’s been compared to Toni Morrison, and I have to agree it has that beautiful yet heartbreaking quality Morrison is known for.
Dedra Johnson is a New Orleans native. Dedra was a finalist for the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Award for College Writers and Sandrine’s Letter to Tomorrow was a finalist for the 2006 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Award. Check back tomorrow to read my interview with Dedra where she’ll give us some insight on her book.
I have a copy of Sandrine’s Letter to Tomorrow to give away to one reader. As always, subscribers are automatically entered in this and all future book giveaways. (If you’re not subscribed, please type your email address in the box in the right-hand column. Make sure you add Feedburner to your address book so you can verify your subscription.) You can also enter by leaving a comment telling me what interests you about the book, or link to this giveaway from your own blog. Do all three, and you have three entries. I’ll draw a winner on April 24, 2008, 12 midnight. (***Note: Contest is now extended to April 25, 2008 midnight. This drawing is now listed on Bloggy Giveaways, which is having a huge giveaway carnival. If you like giveaways, this is the place to be this week!)
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