Natalie Basizle’s Queen Sugar is my second choice for the Alphabet Soup Challenge for this year. It was chosen by my Page Turner’s Book Club for its February selection. Basizle wrote it in 2014, and it was the basis for an original, hit series on Oprah’s OWN Network. As critics remarked, the novel is “exquisitely written” and tells about the “joys and sorrows of family, love, endurance, and hard work.” Charley Bordelon, the owner of a sugar cane farm her father left her, certainly embodies the last two. With Micah, her eleven year old daughter, she leaves her home in LA and moves to southern Luisiana to farm the 800 acres she inherits.

My favorite part of reading the novel was appreciating the author’s ability to form and develop “complex characters” the reader was led to empathize with. It is, as it’s cover advertises, “heartbreaking,””page-turning,” and delivers the promised “hint of bayou magic.” Miss Honey, Charlie’s grandmother; Ralph Angel, her half brother; Violet, her sister; and Hollywood, a neighbor and Ralph Angel’s high school buddy round out the cast of characters. And, what reader could ever forget the wisdom and support of her partners, an elderly African American retired sugarcane farmer and an ornery white cane farmer who has lost his spread? More than once, they saved Charley from disaster and even from herself. The villain, a white man named Landry threatens Charley early on, “Cane farming is always going to be a white man’s business.” This challenge spurs Charley on to prove him and everyone else wrong.

Especially for a debut novel, this is a”darned good read”





Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 plus years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: