In the tradition of Carson McCullers, the author uses her own experience growing up with a mentally ill sister to pen this intensely moving novel. Set in the heart of the deep South, Looking for Mary Gabriel is the story of Bonita, a young girl who desperately wants her family to be normal, despite their strange behavior. Bonita's little sister, Mary, does not act like the other neighborhood kids, and Bonita vacillates between adoring her sister and hating her. Likewise, Bonita's mother is not exactly as warm and loving as one would hope a mother should be. And Bonita's father's motives are suspect to say the least. Almost inevitably, a tragic act of violence shatters the family forever.
As this exquisitely written novel opens, Bonita is preparing to bury her father and is looking back on a life that was shaped by secrets, madness, and lies. This is a novel that will be passed along from friend to friend, for Looking for Mary Gabriel captures perfectly the lonely young girl whose ultimate triumph over her unlucky past enriches all read of her.