Deza Malone’s teeth are rotting, but her family cannot afford the luxury of a dentist. Her elder brother Jimmie has achieved the grand height of a twelve-year-old and does not seem to be growing any further. Eating welfare food – sometimes filled with bugs – is normal for the Malones.
Set in the years of the Great Depression, The Mighty Miss Malone, the story of a black family in Gary, could have been a tale of woe that would make me weep. In fact, that is what I expected when I picked the book up.
But The Mighty Miss Malone is, instead, a story of hope. Every character in the book speaks of love, optimism and sweetness.
Sweetness in literature goes, for me, with a slowness of pace. Books that are sweet are not thrilling or action-packed. Rather, they are hopeful and gentle, full of life and the belief that something delightful is about to happen. And this fits perfectly with The Mighty Miss Malone, for the Malone family motto is that they are on a journey to a place called Wonderful.
The narrator Deza Malone is an irrepressible character, well on her way to becoming a writer. Unfortunately, the thesaurus is her best friend, and she is driven by the urge to use big words whenever she can. Much like L.M. Montgomery’s Emily or Anne, Deza is passionate and fiery – the best possible character to propel a narrative like this one.
Above all, though, Deza is mighty. She can keep her chin up as she conquers odds. She can swing a punch, and she knows what to do to get what she wants. After all, she is the mighty Miss Malone!
|Title||The Mighty Miss Malone|
|Author||Christopher Paul Curtis|
|Rating (out of 5)||4.5|