Done Growed Up: Book 2 in the Apron Strings Trilogy
by Mary Morony
Archway Publishing

"Years of prying information from people who weren’t all that interested in giving it up had endowed Sallee with a certain skill set."

In the second book of the Apron Strings Trilogy, author Morony delves into the Mackey family saga. It is the early 1960s in the Mackey’s southern home. Sallee, on the verge of adolescence, is trying to understand what’s happening with her dad Joe and his new girlfriend while also feeling serious concern for her mother Ginny, who is dealing with her sorrows at the breakup of her marriage to Joe by drowning them in alcohol. Sallee’s brother, Gordy, is getting more overtly violent, acting out his anger by running away, and her older sister, Stuart, has escaped to college—and crime—in New York City.

The dominant theme of this frank offering is discovery. Joe is disturbed to uncover troubling secrets about his father. Ginny consults the one stable figure in the narrative: African-American maid, cook, nurse, and family retainer, Ethel, who reveals horrifying truths about fractured relationships and ugly scars from their shared history. Yet these fateful disclosures may serve to reunite the estranged couple.

Morony writes with confidence and shows her skills at tying together the many skeins linking past to present, providing some new challenge for her thoroughly engaging characters on almost every page. Her gift for language shows not only in highly believable dialogue but also in her handling of multiple speech patterns—from the erudite psychologist to the intellectually disabled child, from city to rural, kids to grownups. It’s clear that she has planned this book and her series with considerable thought, yet the story feels refreshingly spontaneous throughout. She carries through the title’s theme, showing individual maturation among all of her protagonists, even those who think they have already “growed up.” Morony has created a powerful look at a family learning to accept and move past deeply felt, life-altering revelations.

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