Sunday, August 19, 2012

Gateway by Lee Robinson

This summer, I was talking to Harriet McDougal Rigney, who is not only a friend, but an editor I respect a great deal.  The subject was novels set in Charleston, written for a middle school/YA crowd.  Harriet asked if I'd read this book, which had somehow gone completely beneath my radar. I found a copy, and curled up on this rainy Sunday to read a book set in my beloved Charleston.

The author used her experience and familiarity with the Charleston legal system (she was a public defender here for many years, and very active in the legal aid program) and a keen eye for both the beauty and quirks of Charleston to good use. The book is the story of a custody battle told from a teenager's point of view. There is wisdom in these pages, and a true sense of Charleston. Part of the story (including the title) takes place in one of my favorite spots in all of Charleston: the gateway garden walk leading from King Street, behind the apartments and houses I have longed to live in, to the gloriously overgrown, ramshackle garden/graveyard of the Unitarian church.  Anyone I've taken on a walk around Charleston can testify to my love of that walk and graveyard. It's a must see on the private czukie tour, and a place where I can often be found on Sundays, curled up on a bench, reading before choir practice starts at the church I attend.

I particularly liked the end solution of this book.  Mac's experience of being shuttled between the homes of two warring parents is one I saw happen to friends whose parents divorced. I always thought custody considerations particularly unfair to kids, what with all the too-ing and fro-ing. I liked the way this worked out.

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