Starla knows about life being unfair. Living with her Mamie- a woman who lives to punish Starla for every little thing, who won’t share the “good cookies” and who is constantly trying to mold Starla into a lady- Starla knows a lot for her 9 years. However, while on a road trip to find and live with her mom, Starla’s eyes are opened to a whole different world- a world that sometimes is more unfair than her 9 year old self can understand or bear.
Starla is looking forward to the 4th of July parade and fireworks more than anything. Looking forward to it so much, she’s trying to toe the line with Mamie just so she won’t get punished and miss the fun. All is going good till Starla sees a boy bullying a little girl and gets into a fight with him. Which then leads to Starla being punished- and Mamie saying she can’t go to the parade or fireworks. Starla decides to sneak to the parade anyway- and all is going good until a nosy neighbor sees her and chaos ensues. Starla, being fearful that Mamie will send her to reform school, decides it’s time to head to Nashville. Her mom is a famous singer in Nashville and life will be good.
Starla begins walking to Nashville, and meets Eula, a black lady who sells homemade pies. Eula has a white baby with her, and Starla is mighty curious about the baby- but accepts a ride to Nashville. Both Starla and Eula are leaving behind things in Cayuga Springs that they’d rather not have others know about- and Starla just knows that as soon as they make it to Nashville- her momma is going to be happy and take care of Starla and Eula.
The road trip to Nashville is eventful. Starla begins to see how people treat Eula and she is furious- which leads to problems. Eula, Starla and baby James find help along the way- and with the help, they are able to make it to Nashville. When Starla meets Lula- Starla finds out that Lula is not at all like what she remembers. Starla also finds out that Lula’s dreams and Starla’s hopes are not the same- which upsets Starla. Starla’s dad comes to get her, Eula and the baby- and when he finds out what the road trip entailed- he’s mighty grateful to Eula.
Back home in Cayuga Springs, Starla’s life is changing- and she’s taking to heart the lessons of life she learned on the road. At the end of the day, for a 9 year old, Starla learns much about life, love, and what makes a family, And thanks to Eula, Starla knows she has gifts- wonderful and beautiful gifts, and she knows it’s her responsibility to not only find the gifts- but to share with others.
Traveling With T’s Thoughts:
Told from the perspective of a 9 year old girl, a girl who doesn’t understand why the world is the way it is- but gets a heavy dose of a life lesson- Starla is an unforgettable character, She’s a crusader for fairness, and believes in the people that love her. Starla may be a firey redhead- but she’s got a heart of gold. Susan Crandall weaves a storyline that is enjoyable, highly readable and excellent for discussion!
*This book was requested through Netgalley. The above review is my thoughts and opinion.