Remember Box (Sprinkle)

Book Reviews
Patricia Sprinkle weaves an interesting tale with vivid description ... Unlike much Christian fiction there is no overriding spiritual lesson in this story. It's just a good old-fashioned tale of the happenings in a small Southern town. And Sprinkle may be credited for not trying to include a last-minute spiritual twist simply to end the story.
Christian Retailing

In this Christian novel, Sprinkle (author of the Sheila Travis mysteries and When Did We Lose Harriet?) deftly addresses racial tensions in the segregated South in 1949. Carley Marshall, an 11-year-old white girl, is forced to move in with her aunt and uncle in their sleepy village of Job's Corner, N.C., after her mother dies. Having been raised under the influence of her racially conservative grandmother, Carley is startled by the attitude of her preacher-uncle, a firm advocate of biblical equality. The town has similar concerns about him. For the people of Job's Corner, eating meals prepared by blacks is de rigueur, while sitting down to table with them is another matter entirely. In Uncle Steven, Sprinkle has crafted a strong yet sympathetic character whose ideas on race and social justice are ahead of their time. In his wife, Kate, torn between her love for her husband and her fear of what people will think of them, Sprinkle allows readers to see the toll such visionary leadership can have on a family. Written as a flashback, the novel is aptly named as the grown-up Carley struggles to write the true story of what happened in Job's Corner in 1949 from a box of tangible memories. Readers will enjoy Sprinkle's memorable cast of characters and unexpected plot twists, and be challenged by her message of racial equality.
Publishers Weekly

After her Aunt Kate dies, Carley Marshall's uncle, Stephen Whitfield, gives her Kate's "remember box" and asks her to write its story, the story of the year the family lived in the segregated Job's Corner, NC. Before the Civil Rights movement became a national concern, Stephen, the pastor of Bethel Church, lived by his beliefs that all men are loved equally by God regardless of color. This unpopular opinion and his outspoken criticism of anti-Communist rhetoric split his congregation further. As 11-year-old Carley, a ward in her uncle's household, learned to think for herself, a violent murder and the sexual assault of a retarded girl tore the community apart and threatened the strength, solidity, and beliefs of the Whitfield family. Acclaimed mystery maven Sprinkle lends her unique voice to the Christian market with this part whodunit, part black comedy, and part coming of age novel.
Library Journal

(Adult/High School) A novel that captures readers in short order. Now adults, Abby gives her cousin Carley a "remember box" that had belonged to Abby's mother. As Carley lifts the objects from the box, readers are given hints as to the importance of each piece but must read on to learn the whole story that unfolded so many years before as recorded by Carley. In 1949, when her mother died, 11-year-old Carley was sent to live with her Aunt Kate, Uncle Steven, four-year-old Abby, and infant John in Job's Corner, NC, where Steven was the new Presbyterian minister. Feisty, brave, and aware, young Carley faces the racial bigotry in herself and others that is the social norm of the time, bred into children by blacks and whites alike. The treachery of some adults is brought home when her uncle stands trial after being falsely accused of molestation, again when a black family friend is nearly convicted of murder, and in the dangerous encounter she has with the father she had thought was dead. She also witnesses the uncommon heroics and self-sacrifice that can be found in the most unexpected places. The story lures readers along as the pieces fall into place. The characters are steeped in reality, drawn convincingly and full of the surprises inherent in ordinary people. The story should provoke some interesting discussion about situations that are as real today as they were then. —Carol DeAngelo, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA
School Library Journal

Sprinkle's Remember Box is modeled on To Kill a Mockingbird with 11-year-old Carley Marshall standing in for Scout.... Sprinkle, known for her mysteries with rich southern settings, competently evokes the 1950s hysteria over Communism and racism, and her characterizations, particularly of the sullen black servant, Raifa, are filled with wisdom. But it's hard to escape the feeling you've been here before. —John Mort

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