Good tween/YA book. Her first novel, and well-written. Great first lines: "Mama pulled a chicken egg from behind the azalea bushy in our front yard and narrowed her eyes. 'Ludelphia Bennet! You go back in there and get your eye patch!'"
An eye patch? Hm!
Turns out Lu wears the eye patch because of a wood chip that flew from her father's hatchet; there's no doctor in Gee's Bend, AL, so when Mama takes sick, Lu has to cross the river and go to Camden to find a doctor. Hence, leaving Gee's Bend. But on the way to the doctor she meets the Angry Crazy White Boss Lady Mrs. Cobb who has never been able to have children (when Mama had too many that came early and died, and nearly killed her in the process). Lu's central activity is stitching quilts, and she hangs onto the needle and bits of cloth she collects as talismans against evil. Didn't quite do it for me as an "organizing" force to her psyche, but that may be because I don't quilt. But at least she didn't turn out to be yet another girl-who-longs-to-be-a-writer.