Chalktown Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Chalktown

Hyperion, May 2001, 23.95, 448 pp.
ISBN: 078686656X

    In 1961, , Mississippi is a tiny village consisting of mostly a dirt road lined by the shanty homes of sharecroppers. Families communicate with their neighbors mostly through chalkboards that hang off the front porches of their houses.
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    Just down a spell from CHALKTOWN lives the dysfunctional and impoverish Sheehand family, whose patriarch deserted them several years ago. Abusive mother Susan loosely raises her three children. However, in reality, the nearest thing to positive nurturing is sixteen year old teenager Hezekiah, who tries to help his rash sister Arena and his mentally incompetent brother Yellababy.

    However, Hez seeks adventure perhaps to hide from his dismal existence. With Yellababy tied to his back, he journeys to the local metropolis of CHALKTOWN, planning to uncover the mysteries of the community as a means of escaping his gloomy present and his ugly past with seemingly nothing but a drab helpless future to come. However, with the hopefulness of the young, he will still seek a brighter future.

    CHALKTOWN is a period piece that brings to life the late fifties and early sixties in rural Mississippi. However, the story line is that and more as it is a coming of age tale as Hez finds the eternal optimism of youth that one person can change the future for the better. With this novel and MOTHER OF PEARL, Melinda Haynes is stepping closer to earning the Faulkner mantle of consistent superb writer of the Southern novel.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Chalktown

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1980's-1999 Kids growing up/acting up?    -   Yes Poverty, surviving    -   Yes Kind of living:    -   general poverty story Family, caring for ill    -   Yes Who is sick?    -   Brother because he/she is    -   mentally ill Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   unemployed Age:    -   a teen Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Deep South

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Chalktown

Melinda Haynes Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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