THE LAST LIST OF MISS JUDITH KRATT somehow manages to be both bleak and hopeful. It is the story of heartache and pain. And it is the story of healing and love.
This is because it’s the story of a family, and families are eternally good at causing as much heartbreak as they do hope.
Miss Judith Kratt is an elderly white woman in 1989 South Carolina, making an inventory (i.e. her last list) of the valuable items in her family home. She never married and inherited what it was that her family had. She lives only with an elderly black woman named Olva, with whom she has an incredibly complicated relationship.
The story is told entirely from Miss Judith’s perspective, both in 1929 (when her brother was murdered) and in 1989 (when she makes her list). Her father was the most powerful man in the town of Bound, South Carolina… building an empire on the backs of other people, manipulating them into capitulation based on the secrets his son tells him. And then his family falls apart, because they are a family in ways he does not accept.
In 1989, Miss Judith is forced to confront hard truths. She is forced to pick a side, after sixty years of desperately trying not to.
And she picks the right side, the one her father would hate.
This books is a fantastic parallel story of racism and bigotry, family and friendship, violence and hatred, love and understanding… proving that even if it doesn’t seem like things have changed in sixty years, there are good things, good people even in the darkest of moments.
(I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest and original review. All thoughts are my own.)