The $66 Dollar Summer
It’s the summer of 1955 when thirteen-year-old George Harrington arrives in Obadiah, Alabama, to work in his grandmother’s store to save money for a motorcycle. Esther Garrison, who has just graduated from the eighth grade at Obadiah Colored School, also works at the store, saving money to attend high school in the fall. Her brother Bennett’s job is not as desirable as his sister’s—he works for a surly white farmer, Mr. Vorhise, who raises fighting dogs.
An unusual trio—George is white; Esther and Bennett are black—they spend their time roaming the countryside together, fishing and searching for outlaw treasure. On these excursions, conversation often turns to Esther and Bennett’s father, Staple, who mysteriously vanished four years ago. When George, Esther, and Bennett stumble onto chilling evidence that explains the mystery of Staple’s disappearance, a current of racism ruptures their idyllic summer and forces the three friends to confront the hate that surrounds them.
Well-crafted and poignant, The $66 Summer brings home both the horrible realities of the segregated South and the power of friendship.
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Praise and Prizes
“This richly peopled story partakes of To Kill a Mockingbird’s atmosphere of a society in which blacks and whites cannot expect equal justice. . . . John Armistead is a fine storyteller.”
“Excellent. For the smaller and the grown.”
“A well-spun, poignant tale . . . George learns that friendship and sacrifice have no color and that courage means doing the right thing no matter how afraid you are.”
“Each word, each line, rings with a striking authenticity that is rare in modern fiction.”
“Dramatic . . . John Armistead’s story of strong interracial friendships glides smoothly along a sturdy plot with strong characters—some admirable, some hateful.”
“Weaves a powerful message into a poignant narrative.”