Dandelions by Jennifer Buck
“I walked away and went up to the counter to get a donut. I would show them that I could afford a donut. I ordered a chocolate cake donut and handed the lady behind the counter a brown dollar food stamp. She lowered her glasses just below her eyes so she could stare at me intently, “You can’t use food stamps for those sweetie, cash only.”
5 stars - Excellent
The story of Josephine or "Yonder" as she is comically referred to, I think of the word “displacement.” When the world you know which is not perfect but it’s the world you can accept and build your dreams and future is suddenly turned upside, if you had this happen to you in your childhood you will perfectly relate to the struggles of “Yonder” and her family.
The Reagan backdrop is bright and well detail at the height of the AIDS ignorance, fear of the “gays,” being poor, being considered White Trash, our language as a country was still not PC Jennifer lays out the battles of a young lesbian knowing who she is at a very young age. Being forced to move to a part of America, I didn’t know about until this book “pig pickin” what is that I thought. Jennifer’s follies to express love to a crush is no different my indiscretions, but we as a society did make homosexuality as something evil and sinful hopefully we have evolved from such stupidity.
The family dynamics well thought out the characters that interact with “Yonder” are not just one dimensional, but she adds chapters to give them a sense of history and why this person may be the way they are now. People are shaped by their experiences even the ones that consistently screw up. My stand out character within Yonder’s clan is Ma’am not mom, but Ma’am right there tells you she demands respect and you might think that she is an extreme religious old woman but as Jennifer added more background history. What I walked away with is a woman trying to save her family from their misfortunes they seem to land at her doorstep when there is trouble, I say her rules and her demand of respect in exchange for her to help is the price of admission. I was able to keep track of other characters which can be overwhelming sometimes in other forms of media.
In most liberal places being gay is no big thing but do young people know about the struggle I think the same of all American conflicts, we take many things for granted. Open this book and feel the hurt, the pain, and the hope of a young lesbian that wants to survive and be somebody. A reflection of America not so long ago and the daily fight to keep us from going back to those ignorant times is a good reason to understand what Jennifer crafted in her book. I look forward to her next book.
Dandelions Website http://authorjenniferbuck.com/