The Garbage Man’s Daughter: Letting Go of SCARS
When most young teenage girls go to parties, outdoor games, movies or even the mall fourteen year old Davida Kincaid shows young adults and teens the true meaning of courage, discipline and family values. Courage, tolerance, acceptance and love are just some of what this young teen can teach others when Letting Go of Scars and taking a path that would hopefully bring her success. Education oriented, determined to leave no stone unturned we meet her at the beginning of this compelling novel trying to take care of her younger brothers and sisters, help with the finances at home and attend school. Aware that education is her ticket out of poverty and her way to making her own mark in life, Davida realizes that she cannot let her economic situation or her poor living conditions detract her from achieving her goals. Meeting her family we get to know more about Blossom her mother who has had many children, given some away to foster care and Davida’s father who has literally left them to fend for themselves.
As author Gloria Mitchell once again takes us back in time to take the journey along with Davida we meet her father, David who spends more time drinking and shirking his duty as a father than concerned with the fact that his family has little or no food. Davida is often asked to beg, ask for and hopefully convince him to give her money for food while living in conditions not fit for anyone. Added in we meet some of the women he has taken up with but not before understanding or made to understand that things would not get better any time soon. But, although she seemed defeated at times she never gives up and then when her father comes through for her it is only short lived. Working in a store, bagging goods gives her purpose and a great feeling while being allowed to purchase groceries until her father forgets to pay the bill.
Throughout the story we meet several of her friends, Elaine being special who introduces her and encourages her to join her church, become part a young group of ushers and begin to understand the power of God and prayer. Determined to help out at home Davida lies about her age, manages to get a job before she is 16 and learns the true meaning of prejudice and discrimination. Told she was going to babysit for three young children what happens will enrage any reader as she is treated so poorly, like slave labor as she describes it, forced to starve all day and fend for herself with leftovers at night. A couple whose outward appearance is deceptive and a young girl who would not let them defeat or ruin her spirit. Then things began to change and Davida learned the meaning of relationships and teachers that give grades just to give them without thinking about how they would affect a student that has high academic standards. Getting a “C” is unheard of and fighting for justice is what she does when she realizes that one teacher gave not only her a “C” in a class but others too. Learn more about Mr. Glass and his reasoning but not before the chapter concludes with the death of President Kennedy, the impact it had on the students, teachers and the community and her reaction.
Turning 16 was like getting a breath of clean and fresh air for Davida as now she could get a job, earn her own way and help her family. With the aid of her two sisters who sent her money for her birthday she was able to fund her own party and really allow herself to experience something others do at that age. But, an invitation to take her home and offer her a ride would let her know that there are many who cannot be trusted and her quick thinking would save the day. Then, something amazing happened in school and she was asked to join the Distributive Education Club of America and become the chapter in her school’s president. Smart, organized and definitely the right choice she was pumped and thrilled to have the honor. But, even better was what this opportunity would afford her and others but for some reason she took advantage of it first. With the segregating climate changing in Columbia Davida risked it all to get a job at 16 hoping to be able to fend for herself, help her mother and never go hungry again. Miracles do happen and she interviewed but not before being helped and rehearsing with Mrs. Steele. A job at Sears Roebuck in the toy department would launch her on the way to success in more ways than one and a mentor in the department that would teach her how to deal with intolerance. But, disappointments still happen and a promise of an appearance on a TV program goes sour and the next thing you know she is promoted to a higher position. With her Uncle Clyde making sure when he remembers to drive her home a clunker car that needs repairs and is an unusual gift Davida’s spirit never wanes. When the rain stopped one day a rainbow appeared how amazing and fitting.
Dating and meeting young men proved to be an eye opening experience as she learns when dating James whose demeanor and deceptions could have really tarnished her attitude but not Davida. Meeting Alex taught her what not to want in a boyfriend, Billy no better and the end result would be many that she would meet and young man named Theodore who would take her to the prom. Being 16 she did not understand that sometimes-young boys do not realize their responsibilities to their dates and the end result of what she would call her selfishness left her empty, sad and cold when the truth about his fate was learned. The memory of this young man and what he meant to her would remain in her heart and the author’s forever. As she shares more about him with readers.
But, high school was almost over and graduation would be coming upon her and something exciting would mark the end of her four years. A special date for the prom would bring memories flooding back and a graduation that will bring pride, joy, tears of accomplishment and happiness to a young girl who would never give up on life or her goals.
When obstacles come our way many falter and hide behind the screen and never see the light. Allowing darkness to take over and not pushing away the storm clouds allows defeat. Davida Kincaid proved in so many ways that her family was her first joy, love and responsibility as we go back a little further just for one second to when her sister Yvette was born, given to another family, and she fought and screamed until she got her back.
Davida’s courage, pride, tenacity, intelligence and ability to soar never let her down as you hear her words, the feelings expressed straight from the heart at a graduation that will bring tears to your eyes, make you stand up and applaud along with the thousands of others present. Did her parents attend her graduation? Would her father finally admit he was proud of her? Would she walk tall? As she states in her own words: I was a walking miracle. She would never give up and would never walk alone. So, to our author and to Davida I write these words:
I believe in me
I believe in who I am
I believe can soar
I believe that in miracles
I believe that there are no obstacles that will stand in my way
I believe that if I try hard I will succeed.
I WILL SURVIVE! I WILL SUCEED! I WILL ALWAYS BE PROUD TO BE JUST ME!
The Garbage Man’s Daughter: Letting Go of Scars: Scars: An emotional Injury more painful than ones you can see with your eyes. Davida harbored so many throughout her young life: disappointments, abuse at the hand of a date, a father who was not there for her and a mother who weathered her own storms. Scars: Read this powerful novel and learn just how Davida managed to make hers disappear. This book gets FIVE GOLDEN STARS AND FIVE GOLDEN SUNLIGHTS TO BLOCK OUT THE STORM CLOUDS!
Fran Lewis: Honored to have been asked to read and review this outstanding novel.