“I sat at the kitchen table while Momma contemplated what to do with the ground beef thawing out on the counter. She settled on goulash and was checking the pantry to see if she had all the ingredients when it occurred to her she hadn’t heard a peep out of Gordy. The quietude must have alerted her to his absence. She turned to me, “Where’s Gordy—up in his room?”
I shook my head no. “He’s not home yet.”
She checked her watch and asked, “Did you hear his bus come by?”
“No’m. It’s probably running late.”
“Gordy should be home by now, Katherine.” She gave me a doubtful look and asked, “You’re sure his bus hasn’t come by?” The look of concern on her face was fleeting, and we both cringed as Gordy heralded his arrival by slamming the front door so hard the house shook. Momma yelled at the top of her lungs, “Gordy!” When he came barreling through the doorway she asked, “How many times have I told you not to slam the door like that? You’ve already taken a minimum of ten years off my life!”
He never even heard a word she said because he was talking louder and faster than his customary mile-a-minute. His words practically ran together as he said, “You shoulda seen it! Sammy Spellman throw up all over prissy ol’ Becky Taylor on the bus! We had beets for lunch an’ Sammy ate a whole bowl of ‘em. I bet that’s what made him throw up. He says he likes ‘em, but I don’t believe it for a minute. I think he just eats ‘em to show off. But the really good part is Sammy’s throw-up was all red—like he was throwing up blood! Then ol’ Becky started crying an’ everything, and Cindy Walker started gagging ‘cause throw-up splattered all over her shoes an’ then she threw up. It was so cool! They were sitting across the aisle from me, an’ I got to see it all. And Becky, with her weirdo-self, told Mikey Olson she was gonna wipe throw up on him ‘cause he laughed at her. And the bus driver had to stop the bus an’ calm everybody down. It was Coolsville!”
I could see Momma was trying to keep a straight face as she said, “Gordy that’s enough—there’s nothing cool about someone throwing beets up all over the place.”
“Well I couldn’t be sure, but from the smell of it I think Sammy must’ve been sick at both ends. I tell–”
“Gordy!!!” Gordy was treading on very thin ice.
“It’s the truth! It was gross I tell ya. Gross enough to gag a maggot! Everybody sitting around ‘em looked like they were gonna puke—’cept me. The bus driver made everybody get off, and the monitor had to go to somebody’s house to call for another bus and for Sammy an’ Becky an’ Cindy’s parents to come and get ‘em.”
“Dear Lord, I hope Sammy’s not contagious.” And in spite of the fact we weren’t Catholic, Momma crossed herself.”
Remember Della is one of those books that sticks with you long after you are done reading it. It deals with issues of bullying before they were labeled as social issues. Set in the deep south in the 1950’s. Full of lots of characters that jump off the page and demand that you love them. The book is very historically accurate when it comes to the references, slang, and personality.
I may like this book more since the main character is named Kat. She is a normal sixteen year old girl, with normal sixteen year old problems. Except she is slightly physic, and this dream keeps coming to her. A yellow scarf and a girl that no one will admit is missing. The deeper she dives into this mystery, the more she uncovers about how she is her life has been intertwined with Della’s.
Remember Della is certainly one you need to put on your must read 2015 list. Then let me know how you like it. What are the other books on your must read list?