Item description for Blue Hole Back Home: A Novel by Joy Jordan-Lake...
Overview The mid-century summer was heavy, not only with the Appalachian humid air, but with the raw emotion of a stranger in their midst. The New Girl. The New Girl with the deeply colored skin and the straight, shiny, ebony hair and the father who prayed on a rug facing East each morning. The New Girl who changed the hearts, minds and lives of everyone in the small, provincial mountain town, merely by accepting a ride on a hot summer day to the local swimming hole.
"Sacred's not a word I've ever much liked. But maybe some things, and some places, just are. And maybe the Blue Hole was one of those things."
Shelby (nicknamed Turtle) never had any female friends. But when a mysterious girl from Sri Lanka moved to town in the summer of 1979, Turtle invited her to a secret haven: the Blue Hole. Turtle had no idea how much that simple gesture would affect the rest of her life, or the lives of those she loved.
In a time when America was technically well beyond the Civil Rights era, there were those in Turtle's small Appalachian town who rejected the presence of someone different. And in just one summer-in a collision of love, hate, jealousy, beauty, and a sacred, muddy swimming hole-nothing and everything changed.
Awards and Recognitions Blue Hole Back Home: A Novel by Joy Jordan-Lake has received the following awards and recognitions -
Christy Awards - 2009 Winner - First Novel category
Citations And Professional Reviews Blue Hole Back Home: A Novel by Joy Jordan-Lake has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Christian Retailing - 03/10/2008 page 17
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Studio: David C. Cook
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.4" Width: 5.4" Height: 0.9" Weight: 0.85 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2008
Publisher David C. Cook
ISBN 143479993X ISBN13 9781434799937
Availability 0 units.
More About Joy Jordan-Lake
Joy Jordan-Lake, adjunct professor at Belmont University in Nashville, is the author of three books, including Grit & Grace: Portraits of a Woman's Life. She served as a Baptist chaplain at Harvard University and has taught writing and literature at Tufts University and Baylor University. An enthusiastic advocate for micro-enterprise loans, she helps the impoverished begin their own businesses to support their families. Joy and her husband are the parents of three children.
Joy Jordan-Lake currently resides in Waco. Joy Jordan-Lake was born in 1963.
Reviews - What do customers think about Blue Hole Back Home: A Novel?
A delightfully haunting book Jul 14, 2008
An unopened book is a tease that can lead to disappointment. But here is one that delivers. It's well-written and as deep as a blue-water swimming hole that kids used to flock to, before everyone put up no trespassing signs, afraid of liability.
It's a book that transports you to a time and place: 1979 on Pisgah Ridge in North Carolina, a community where "there were no blacks... Sure there were the ones who cleaned our houses and mowed our lawns, but they all left on the last bus" to return to the town in the valley. "And they knew enough to never miss that ride down."
The narrator, Shelby, is a high school sophomore and the only girl in a "mangy pack" consisting of her brother Emory, his best friend Jimbo Riggs --- son of the pastor of the largest Baptist church on the Ridge --- "and a spare friend of theirs and an excess cousin." Virtually every summer evening, these kids, riding in the back of Emory's pick-up, end up at a swimming hole --- not causing trouble, just hanging out.
But there's a new family on the Ridge, from Sri Lanka. They're not only dark-skinned but Muslim. Rather impulsively, Turtle invites the teen daughter, Sanna, to ride along to Blue Hole. Over the summer, she's tentatively, then dramatically, welcomed into the group. But not everybody is ready for an integrated Ridge, say nothing of an integrated creek.
Right up front, before the flashback, the reader knows something will go awry: "It was the men in white bed sheets that changed us forever --- them and the Blue Hole, that is."
The narrator doesn't claim a Christian faith, neither as a teen nor as an adult transplanted to Boston. Yet she notices its evidence in others: her Methodist mother and particularly Jimbo, the Baptist preacher's son, who holds the "mangy pack" and the book together.
Author Joy Jordan-Lake's writing --- her characterizations and figures of speech --- is downright refreshing. Though in chapter after chapter the teens' parents are largely absent from the scene, they are not totally "out of the loop." In one scene the phone rings when the Garden Club ladies are meeting at Shelby's house. It's Sanna, inviting Shelby for a sleepover. Shelby's mother gives permission and then says, "Shelby, sugar." Shelby notes, "It was the kind of sugar that works like a yank to a leash...
"`Who was it? Which of your girlfriends asked you to sleep over?'
"Bless Mama. She said this as if there were legions of girls waiting to ask me to their houses... `The, um, the new girl.'
"Now, all white Southern women keep as a weapon...a certain smile that can be whipped out of storage and tacked up in an instant, covering over a multitude of too-candid moments."
Shelby explains: Mama "was considering, I knew, that the Garden Club ladies were gripping sweet tea beside her, but also what Jesus would do. `Well, now,' she murmured. `"Turn ye not away strangers, lest ye entertain angels unawares.' Isn't that right?' Mama looked to the wife of the good Reverend Riggs" --- a descendant of several Confederate heroes --- and Jimbo's mother.
I finished reading BLUE HOLE BACK HOME 24 hours ago, and the characters and setting linger in my mind. This is a delightfully haunting book. I don't want to give too much away, but I urge you to take my advice and read it.
--- Reviewed by Evelyn Bence
Masterful May 17, 2008
A beautifully wrought, emotionally captivating, can't-put-down-for-the-life-of-me book. Joy Jordan-Lake's voice is so powerful it'll knock you right over, even if you're laying down. Open the book for the premise, stay for the prose, and close for the deep connection you've established with each character. You'll want to turn right back to page one and start reading all over again.
Beautifully Written May 1, 2008
Both lyrical and visual, Jordan-Lake's writing will take you right "Back Home" along with Turtle, Jimbo and all the memorable characters on Pisgah Ridge. Based on a real life experience of the author's and set, unbelievably (!) in 1979, this is an important and relevant story of racial unrest in the south...not in the 40's or 50's but in the late 70's! Where were you when, and what music were you listening to and can you believe something like this could have happend so recently? All of these questions you will ask the book clubs, relatives and friends that you will HAVE to recommend, share and gift this book to after you read it. Laugh-out-loud come backs, take-your-breath-away descriptions and tears-streaming-down-your-face climaxes are this writer's gift to all who take the plunge into the Blue Hole.
Unforgettable Mar 27, 2008
Joy Jordan-Lake has crafted a beautiful, tragic southern tale that will have you exclaiming, "Great day in the mornin'!" with tears running down your cheeks. Well, before you do that you'll long for a wide front porch with a screen to keep out the bugs and a slippery glass of sweet iced tea. You'll laugh with and love Shelby Lenoir, big brother Emerson and best friend James Beauregard (could the names be any more beautifully southern?). The characters are lively and imaginative. I fell in love with them all - Mollybird Pitman included. Well, I'm not sure that I loved Mort Beckwith but he was imperative to the story so I tolerated him and his band of idiots. I am not a writer (and if you've read this far you've surmised as much) but I do know good writing when I see it. You simply must read this book. It is, sadly, relevant for our world even now. So there... There's my very first this site review. Now stop reading my feeble words and buy or borrow a copy. You will not regret it.