FaithWords, Jun 17 2010, $13.99
In 1958 in Graham Camp, Texas, twelve years old Sammie Tucker’s mother Rita suffers from nerves. Sammie hopes to become a writer, but needs a typewriter. She actually has a boyfriend, loose definition, in California teenage transplant Cly MacLemore; though her best friend Tuwana Johnson likes the cool cat more than she does.
Sammie’s world collapses when her depressed mom commits suicide. As she nears her thirteenth birthday, Sammie wonders who she can depend on when people you love leave you by yourself. Family members and Cly try to be there for Sammie, but her mom was everything to the depressed grieving child.
This is a strong historical tale as several cast members struggle with personal issues. Sammie cannot move on beyond her mother’s death as she wonders if her crazed late mom ever loved her. Cly has parental issues too as his frustrated dad dumps him on relatives hoping the teen straightens out from being a delinquent. Other cast members have problems that haunt them too. Chasing Lilacs is a poignant look at residents of a small Texas town during the Eisenhower era; as everyday people strain to overcome problems; ironically Sammie’s mother did just that selfishly leaving behind trauma for her family especially her daughter.