July 7, 2014
Saucy and Bubba by Darcy Pattison
Saucy and Bubba
by Darcy Pattison
As much as Saucy loves the creativity and fun of gingerbread day, it’s also a day she dreads. There’s no telling what kind of shape her step-mother Krissy will be in on any given day. Krissy is an abusive alcoholic but not everyone sees this side of her.
The bakery in town sees her as a creative crafter, baking and assembling a new gingerbread house each month. Some are based on easily recognized public buildings. Some are known only to locals. Regardless, her attention to detail and still are astonishing and bring business into the bakery.
She’s a loving mother to seven-year-old Bubba, reading him stories, getting him to help with her chickens and treating him with the love she would show her own child.
She even makes Daddy smile. As much as Saucy missed his smiles and laughter after Mama died, she just can’t bring herself to trust Krissy. Not after she left them at the ball field and forgot to pick them up. Now when her words are slurred and her temper short even if this temper is always directed at Saucy.
On baking day, Saucy finds the bottle of rum hidden in the back of a kitchen cabinet. She knows the drinking hasn’t stopped. She has to keep Bubba safe even if it means running away and taking the bus to Aunt Vivian’s house in Albuquerque.
Even without the cover art, it is clear this is a modern Hansel and Gretel story complete with a mean step-mother and a clueless father. The question is — wil Saucy be able to identify all of the wolves to keep Bubba safe on their journey.
I’m not going to talk any more about the plot because I don’t want to give anything away but this is an extremely powerful story. Admittedly, I know Pattison and read an early version of this book but it is truly one of her most moving pieces of writing.
That said, it is going to make any an adult squirm. Why? Because we want to believe that it is easy to pick out the threats to a child. It scares us to think that we might miss something and that someone who is drunk and out-of-control can also be methodical enough to only abuse one child. This is the kind of book that makes an adult squirm.
But this is its truth and why it is so powerful. This is clearly a story for the young reader who needs to know that grown ups don’t know everything and that sometimes the only person you can protect is yourself.
Not many books move me to tears. Be warned. There are wolves in the woods.