Hold Up the Sky is your quintessential Southern story. Sweet tea, lazy afternoons, and peaches are part of the lifestyle in the part of Georgia where the story takes place. Patricia Sprinkle has created a story where four women have to go out of their comfort zone and take control of their lives. Instead of depending on others as they have done in the past, the women must make choices and decisions entirely on their own. The story is told from Billie Waits point of view but also visits the lives of Margaret, her sister; Mamie, the woman who took care of her as a child, and Emerita, a Mexican immigrant who comes to their town. Billie’s plight includes a daughter born with cerebral palsy. Sprinkle delicately handles the struggles of a single mother who tries to take care of her disabled daughter as well as make a living for herself. Margaret has to handle a husband who decides he doesn’t want to be in a marriage with her anymore and the repercussions that come from his decision. Meanwhile Mamie and Emerita are facing issues that involving their own personal well-being.
I felt that the story focuses more on Billie and Margaret and less on the other two women. In fact, Emerita is not introduced until about 2/3s of the story. However, the four women are all intertwined and their faith is what keeps them going on during these tough situations. It also all comes down to accepting the fact they all need help and must push past pride to ask for it. There are faith elements in this story but they are not done in a way that is overtly pushing beliefs on the reader. Situations involving divorce, infidelity, and abandonment in marriage are topics discussed throughout the book. One character faces the issues of not knowing whether to start a new relationship if the old relationship is not completely severed yet. The characters are well developed and many readers will probably be able to relate to at least one of the women. The story reads as a slice of life story with situations that will seem all too familiar to some readers. The world that Sprinkle has written about is one that I would to visit again in the future.
Hold Up the Sky by Patricia Sprinkle is published by NAL Accent (2010)
This review copy was provided by the publisher
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