"A Place at the Table" is a very timely book with all that is going on in our current social climate. It touches on race and gay relationships as well as domestic abuse. Susan Rebecca White writes about the South and its history well, but more importantly she can share the human story that surrounds our South with us all.
We meet three central characters that seem to have no connection to each other. They
are born in different generations and into different family settings. Alice is a black girl growing up in a poor town in North Carolina. She and her brother James are inseparable until one day they witness something that will change both of their lives forever. Alice ends up in New York City as a famous chef for Cafe Anders. James is thought to be lost forever after he disappears.
Bobby grew up a preacher's son in Georgia a few generations later. He prefers to spend time in the kitchen with his mother and grandmother. He finds himself drawn to his male friends but does not understand his own feelings. One of his school friends decides to explore their mutual feelings during a sleepover, but it does not go unnoticed. That starts his estrangement with his parents that never truly heals. His wonderful grandmother takes him in and nurtures him when he needed someone desperately on his side. She eventually sends him off to New York City to follow his dream with the money she saved from baking cakes.
Amelia finds herself in a loveless marriage that can trend to verbal and physical abuse. Her cheating husband seems to be losing himself to his anger more and more, after their two daughters are out of the house. Being alone with each other has not healed any fissures as Amelia hoped. She has hard choices ahead.
After being confronted with the truth of her husband's infidelity, she finally makes the break she should have years before. While searching for the reason her parents separated years earlier, she stumbles on a family secret that will send her in search of Alice to confirm the family secret she thinks she has discovered. As we explore their stories entwined in this book, we become invested in the characters. Come find your place at the table.