First of all, this is a Young Adult book. Secondly, I highly recommend this book to all adults. It’s a wonderful story about Harry “Dit” Sims coming of age. The novel takes place during the years 1917-1918 in a small town in Alabama. Dit’s parents rent out a cottage to the local postman, and this is the heart of the novel. Dit waits with anticipation for the new postman and his family to arrive since they are supposed to have a boy his age. As the middle child in a big family, Dit feels as though he is lost in the shuffle (his father routinely calls him by his brother’s names). Dit is looking forward to making a new friend.
When the postman and his family arrive on the train, there is no boy, only a girl his age and the astounding realization that they are black. Remember, this is small-town Alabama, 1917. Regardless, Emma Walker and her family become good friends with the Sims, and Dit and Emma become best friends.
It is during the time that Emma lives next door that Dit grows up. Simply by being friends with Emma, his world-view changes; and he begins to stand up for what he believes is the “right thing to do”. This book is exciting; there are the usual high-jinks associated with childhood in the rural South; along with changing views and a wrongfully convicted local barber.
Along the way, Dit and Emma learn about the world, people and each other. Each is changed in a profound way and gains a greater knowledge of the world they live in, each other, and themselves. A wonderful read!