Wow. This is an amazing story. It is all about a family who has had hardships over their long existence and continue to do so. The book focuses on the many experiences of the Standridge family as it is being retold to a New York reporter covering the Annual Sour Orange Derby. The Sour Orange Derby is their family tradition of hitting sour oranges with baseball bats and giving out points based on how far the pieces go and how big the pieces are. It really sounds like something that would be a lot of fun. It's super messy which pretty much means you can't take it seriously.
Throughout the story, the reporter, Rod, is getting extremely frustrated because Kariss won't just give him the straight facts. Se tells him about all these experiences that she and her family had in order to get Rod to understand that her family was happy a long time ago. They believed in magic. They believed in truly living. They were whole. She also wanted Rod to see that the Sour Orange Derby had more meaning than just a day to have fun. By the end, Rod is a complete believer and understands that this is more than a "simple game."
Now for my disclaimer on the story. There is a very deep and emotional reason behind the derby. I literally cried for three chapters. It is very close to the end, so once you get there you really can't just put the book down and not finish. If you have lost someone you love, this will stir up those feelings and might bring you down a bit. The author did such a great job writing about it, that I believe she must have had a similar experience to make me cry like that. Otherwise, you will love this story.
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