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Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
Dirges of The Still Waters by James W. Durrah is the story of a young girl who wants nothing more than to learn to write. Vadeedee lives in a remote area in the mountains of Appalachia. Her life is as simple and boring as you can imagine. The only good thing in her life is the poetry she creates in her mind and saves it all there. Her life would be brilliant if only she could learn to read and write, but the only “school” closest to her is in a village called Aladdin that is dominated by white people. To make matters worse, she likes a boy called Simon who thinks she is too weird. Respite comes in the form of Lynn Cutter. She teaches Vadeedee to read and write and helps her come out of her shell. She also offers to take Vadeedee away from there, but at what price? What does she get from this?
I’m a huge fan of Toni Morrison and she has set standards for strong and powerful black protagonists incredibly high. Author James W. Durrah has done a great job at making Vadeedee on a par with Sula, Sethe, Violet, and Bride. Vadeedee is one of those characters that get into the minds of readers and stay there. She is just 15 years of age yet she is smart beyond her years. Her relationship with her mother is very relatable, but so is her thirst to be someone she can be proud of. Lynn provided tension to the plot while also making it more interesting. I really enjoyed the narrative and the pace of the story. Vadeedee’s development was great; her ability to grow under those circumstances was commendable and the way the author handled the story was incredible. I really enjoyed this book.