Whistling Past the Graveyard

Whistling Past the Graveyard

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"In the summer of 1963, nine-year-old spitfire Starla Claudelle runs away from her strict grandmother's Mississippi home. Starla hasn't seen her momma since she was three--that's when Lulu left for Nashville to become a famous singer. Starla's daddy works on an oil rig in the Gulf, so Mamie, with her tsk-tsk sounds and her bitter refrain of 'Lord, give me strength, ' is the nearest thing to family Starla has. After being put on restriction yet again for her sassy mouth, Starla is caught sneaking out for the Fourth of July parade. She fears Mamie will make good on her threat to send Starla to reform school, so Starla walks to the outskirts of town, and just keeps walking. ... If she can get to Nashville and find her momma, then all that she promised will come true: Lulu will be a star. Daddy will come to live in Nashville, too. And her family will be whole and perfect. Walking a lonely country road, Starla accepts a ride from Eula, a black woman traveling alone with a white baby. The trio embarks on a road trip that will change Starla's life forever. She sees for the first time life as it really is--as she reaches for a dream of how it could one day be."--
Publisher: New York :, Gallery Books,, 2013.
Edition: First Gallery Books hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781476707723
Branch Call Number: FICTION Crandall Susan 06/2013
Characteristics: 308 pages ;,24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Aug 23, 2016

Great book, very uplifting and keeps you reading.

Aug 30, 2015

Starla is girl from a small town and since it is 1963 pre -internet. She has only the knowledge and beliefs of those around her, though she does rebel at many of these. Ignorance brings about truth and a knowledge she would never have had if her grandmother had not been so mean and if her father had not lied about Starla's mom . She runs away and the world opens up to her in totally new ways, not all of them good as she is almost murdered twice. Starla sees the consequences of segregation on someone she actually knows and comes to love.
It is a coming of age story and a lesson in acceptance.
It is an good if somewhat predictable read.

Jan 09, 2015

Good book!

Sep 03, 2014

This was a surprising book and a very delightful one. Starla is a very determined young girl, & the author does a wonderful job of bringing out her character & making the reader enjoy her adventures. I could easily recommend this book to all my reading friends.

Jun 23, 2014

A great summer read! I loved it!!

Oct 04, 2013

One of my top ten reads this year. This is a brilliant book. While it is a good story, an engaging quick read, the social implications/revelations/abominations are graceful, critical and "hearable", in my view, because they come from the thoughts of a child. Down south, a young white girl - Starla, bright, spirited and precocious is bone-tired of her domineering grandmother, of whose care she is in. She runs away...without really planning to, or thinking it through. She just begins to walk. Along the road she meets a middle aged black woman who takes her in, along with the other white child, a baby, that she, well, sorta 'stole.' Together they take an journey through the deep south during the times of white-water-fountains, lunch-counter-sit-ins, blacks-to-the-back-of-the-bus experiences. Our young lady learns how dangerous skin color can be, the absurdities, the realities. We listen to her mind tangled with questions, outrages, confusion...very much thoughts I believe many of us adults may have...presented with such wholesome simplicity that it is heart wrenching. We have an absent oil-rig-working-daddy, murder, swamps, shut doors, evil eyes, a baby in a suitcase...a grand ol' oprey mama, worn shoes, high fevers, cold nights under the stars, fear, love and wonder. Our girl is courageous. She made me proud. She squeezed my heart. My man and I both read this book and we both were moved to tears in the end pages, a rarity for both of us. Beautifully done. Well well worth it. Will be thinking about this book for a long long time.

_ "My daddy says that when you do somethin' to distract you from your worstest fears, it's like whistlin' past the graveyard. You know, making a racket to keep the scaredness and the ghosts away. He says that's how we get by sometimes."

Sep 26, 2013

This was a nice coming of age story with a likeable sassy little nine year old as the protaganist. It will appeal to those you who enjoy southern fiction or a nice clean story. My only complaint is that I found it lacking in depth but it was an easy entertaining book for those that like a lighter read.




Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at My Library

To Top