My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The sequel to One Crazy Summer, P.S. Be Eleven follows Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern back to Brooklyn after their summer visiting their mother Cecile in Oakland, CA. While the Gaither sisters spent the summer learning about the Black Panthers and the power of the People, they must now re-learn how to live with Big Ma and her constant fear of creating a “Negro Spectacle.” Uncle Darnell returns home from the Vietnam War, Pa has a new girlfriend, the Jackson 5 are creating a sensation, and the Delphine has to navigate sixth grade.
Once again Rita Williams-Garcia captures the turbulence of growing up in the late 1960s by placing the larger social changes in the context of everyday childhood. The themes and conflicts of this book as familiar as sixth grade–how can I impress my teacher? will anyone ask me to the sixth grade dance? will I get to see my heart-throb perform live?–and family–what is my place in this new family dynamic? The big questions of racial and gender equality and war and peace are woven into the smaller spheres of home and school.