36. The Turner House

“The eldest six of Francis and Viola Turner’s thirteen children claimed that the big room of the house on Yarrow Street was haunted for at least one night.  A ghost — a haint, if you will, tried to pull Cha-Cha out of the big room’s second-story window.”

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

I loved this book.  Loved loved loved it.  Floved this book. It was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2015 and I am mortally offended that it didn’t win (even though I know that the actually winner, The Orphan Master’s Son is a great book that I personally could not finish so who am I to judge?).  But this book is warm and winning and about family and home (and, of course, race, since we live in America and this book is about black people), and I loooooved it.

It is about the Turner family, who for over fifty years lived on Yarrow Street in Detroit.  The Turners raised thirteen children in the house, and now the entire bickering clan is trying to decide what should be done about the home, which fell into disrepair after their mother moved out and the neighborhood is struggling.  The story mainly focuses on Cha-Cha, the oldest, who is taking care of their mother in his own home, and Lelah, the youngest, who is having some hard times of her own, and needs somewhere she can figure herself out.  But other characters weave in and out, and we get the sense of what it’s like to be part of such a tempetuous clan.  The family is real, and loving, and bickering, and all that you might expect with thirteen individuals trying to figure out who they are, and what their history means to them.

I just found this to be so captivating and human.  Flournoy is kind to her characters without pulling any punches about who they are and what they did to get where they are.  I could have read another whole novel about different members of the Turner clan and how they were shaped by the family and who they are, and I cannot, cannot wait to read what Flournoy comes up with next.  Just really loved this one, guys. 

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017