A former student of mine, let’s call her “Madison,” insisted I read this book because it’s her favorite book and she reads it annually. This is a lot of pressure to put on a book. I happened to be at the Strand Bookstore in NY in summer of 2015 and saw this novel on the cheap remainders table at a discount, so I bought it. I tried reading it that summer and got about 150 pages in before I needed to start work-reading again, so I never finished it. This summer, I proposed it as the July book for my neighborhood book club. Being the book-chooser obliges me to host, and there are barely enough chairs in my house for twelve southern ladies. But I can’t complain since I’ve never experienced the sort of poverty Francie Nolan grows up with. Anyway, the short version of this review is that the book is really darn good and everyone should read it.