"Thank God for Boll Weevils" by Rhett Barbaree is an indepth look at the Southern soul as seen through the eyes of two God-fearing young women as they grow up in the early 1900 s, deep in the "Heart of Dixie"; Grabbing your attention with its charming southern dialect, the story entertains you with a rich wit and humor that is reminiscent of excerpts you might read from an old Mark Twain passage.The primary narrator, Janie Taylor, does a superb job painting the canvas of an era, of a people who once dominated the Post-Civil War South. Janie then draws you in to her close-knit family and community where a strong Christian moral presence is exhibited and leaves the reader yearning to live in such a time and place. (publisher)
The title immediately caught my attention. I am from Alabama and my grandparents had a cotton crop, so memories of picking cotton came rushing in. It took me a few pages to get into this, but I blame that on me reading the ebook (not a fan; I prefer a physical book every time). However, I quickly got into the rhythm and fell in love with the characters who populated the pages. The background, history, and people all came together to make a story that could easily have happened just as written. It's a story of people who want to do good for their fellow man and for themselves and work together for that purpose.
Barbaree's research, combined with a wonderful wit, kept me glued to the story. Of course, I know the basic history of how the boll weevil destroyed cotton and George Washington Carver's role in bringing hope and help to the area, but that merely enhanced Barbaree's storytelling skills. The main 2 characters---one white and one black: Janie, the daughter of the owner of the cotton gin and Sipsey, the daughter of a sharecropper were best friends who both shared the dream of becoming schoolteachers. As Janie goes to all-white Troy State Normal School and Sipsey to all-black Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, they maintain their close friendship, plus there is a friendship with George Washington Carver that forever impacts not only the families and friends of Janie and Sipsey, but life in south Alabama.
But what completely pulled me into the story was an account of the symbolism in the Biblical story of Sampson. It was a "lightbulb" moment with a fresh way of looking at the story. Two other parts that deeply touched me on a spiritual level were on generational curses and unforgiveness due to deeply buried resentment. Spiritual truths, history, likeable and admirable characters, with a twist of humor in a compelling story make this a near perfect book for me. In books and movies, I like to laugh and I like something that makes me think. Thank God for Boll Weevils is 5 stars!
BONUS INFO: Read about the author's incredible meeting with a young lady who later became a victim of the Colorado shooting rampage and how it ties in with a destructive bug, the South, and faith.
Breaking Christian News/Bonnie Kate Pourciau
Article in AL.com about the writing of the novel: Rhett Barbaree Combines History with Inspiration
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Tiger Iron Press
I received a copy of this product at no cost to myself from the Christian Women Affiliate (CWA) Review Crew. All opinions are my own.