The Sand Castle, by Rita Mae Brown, is story of the one family Juts and Wheezie Smith, two generations on a single beach trip to the St. Mary Bay in 1952. There is Julia and her eight year old daughter Nickel. Aunt Louise (Wheezie) and her eight-year-old grandson Leroy, who has recently lost his mother to cancer. The story is told through the eyes of eight-year-old Nickel. In the span of 103 pages, Brown manages to insert topics such as war, depression, loyalty and death through the bickering of Julia and the more religious fanatic Louise. Nickel and Leroy squabble like children, but also discusses the similar topics through their childlike view of the world.
This book felt more like an elongated short story, mostly because it centered around a single day, during a single event of building a sand castle at the bay. Brown’s writing style seems very simplistic, but she somehow manages to fill in a world of adult issues through Nickel and Leroy. Seeing the world through a child’s eyes is sometimes the best way to realize that something is not right. As Nickel tries to understand why Leroy’s dad doesn’t want Leroy to follow in his footsteps and join the marines, because Leroy’s dad always says he is proud to be a marine. Nickel doesn’t understand why Leroy is still depressed because his mother died of cancer. This book in an incredibly quick read, and it leaves the reader with to think about after the last page has turned. This book is part of the Six of One Trilogy, and since this isn’t the first in the series, I’ll have to backtrack and find the earlier titles to read.
FINAL GRADE: A
***********The Sand Castle by Rita Mae Brown Grove Press, 2008 ISBN 0802118704 103 pages