When we first meet Lily “Lil Bit” Dalton, she is quite literally drowning. This “lip flapping” event, along with others, takes place in the quirky, yet racially divided waterway township of Arcadia, Florida in 1954.
by Hand, Lil Bit recounts the years between ten and thirteen spent in
the care of the woman she considers to be her grandmother, "Bubbah," and
this woman's alcoholic son, Bobby. As the story opens, it’s been five
years since Lil Bit’s mama, Violet, “dropped her off like nothin’ but a
bit of dirty laundry,” when on “Ditch Thursday,” Lil Bit is pulled from
the river by Sheriff Marin. The Sheriff’s act of heroism leaves her not
only with the secret of what lies beneath the water, but also with
gnawing doubts about Sheriff Marin, “the only white man worth a damn in
all of Arcadia,” who also knows the river’s secret, but tells no one.
the tales told by the young heroines in the classics To Kill a
Mockingbird and the Secret Lives of Bees, Lily “Lil Bit” Dalton’s quest
to reunite with her mother, while also keeping the secret of the
Massaquatta’s murky depths, takes readers on a tumultuous ride filled
with adventure and mystery. But more importantly, Raised by Hand answers
the age old question: What does it take to be a family?
The Nerd's Ramble: In short this book packs a punch. It's complex and layered a story within a story within a story. The characters all interweave together, seemingly random people and events take place only to have significant impact later on in the book. Lil Bit is an adept narrator, connecting with the reader through her day to day life. The voice is authentic and really well written.
I really enjoyed this book. It's one that transported me to the time of the novel, the setting as much as a character as the flesh and blood people roaming around in it. I love the themes of family and forgiveness that run through this. The characters are all strong, and each have their own set of flaws (some of which are corrected, others are not--once more lending to the authenticity of the voice of the book).
This story got under my skin in ways that books lauded as similar to this hadn't. It's really a wonderful book, and I'm looking forward to reading more of Ms. Thomas' work. I cannot recommend it enough.
Disclosure: I was sent this book free for review. I did not receive monetary compensation for my thoughts or review. All opinions are my own.
Total Length: not given
Formats Available: Kindle, EPUB, Traditional.
Publication Date: Published in 2013 (Though first published October 2012)
Author's Link: Willett Thomas on Goodreads