A Valiant Conflict

For Jason Lee Rainey in the 1980s, living in a small Mississippi town, the clock of life ticks toward the day he’ll become the brave and honorable man his father was. Klann’s voice seems perfect for the times, for the young Jason Lee and for the South. The tension of the racism Jason Lee must face is firmly threaded throughout his sometimes serious, sometimes madcap adventures, all written in a strong voice. In this book, cars don’t just drive up to Jason Lee’s home, they “rattle up the drive.” Hadlee, Mississippi’s sole restaurant isn’t just called Hadlee’s Café, it’s called the Grinnin’ Catfish. Jason Lee’s mama doesn’t just bake a white cake, she bakes “almalgamation cakes” with quirky ingredients. And Jason Lee spends time playing checkers with his dad’s best friend, not with merely old checkers, but with bottle caps–Pepsi and Dad’s Root Beer, if I recall correctly. Along with the strong voice, a strong story unfolds that kept me turning the pages to the satisfying ending. Laurie Richards

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