HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Good-bye, My Lady
Author: James Street
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, reprinted in 1980
Language level: 2 (one instance of taking the name of God in vain)
Reading level: Ages: 12 and up
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Street, James. Good-bye, My Lady (copyright 1941 by the Curtis Publishing Company and published by J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, PA). This is another youth fiction book that I picked up at a used book sale while visiting in Kentucky a few years ago. Skeeter (Claude) is a fourteen-year-old orphan who lives with his uncle Jesse Jackson in the swamps near Pascagoula, MS. The boy finds a strange dog (a rare Basenji which had somehow escaped into the swamp) and trains it. Ultimately, he learns about its having been lost and, after an initial hesitation, realizes that he must return the dog. Unlike the youth fiction books by Merrit P. Allen and K. M. Peyton that I purchased at the same time, this one does not have any cursing in it and almost no profanity. There are a few euphemisms, and in one instance the local storekeeper, "Cash" Evans, is said to have taken the name of his God (as an exclamation).
There are some swamp superstitions, like belief in evil spells and "praying for the magic of the mellowbug," and a few references to tobacco use. A couple of times someone is said to have lied, and Skeeter knows that Uncle Jesse sometimes did "strange things with the truth." However, in the end, honesty triumphs over desire, and Skeeter does a good deal of growing up in the process. Street apparently wrote a lot of novels for young people (the jacket lists Look Away!; Oh, Promised Land; In My Father’s House; The Biscuit Eater; Tap Roots; By Valour and Arms; The Gauntlet; Tomorrow We Reap; Mingo Dabney; The High Calling; The Velvet Doublet; The Civil War; Captain Little Ax; Pride of Possession; and a book of Short Stores), but none of them seem to be in print now. Good-Bye, My Lady was reprinted as a paperback in November of 1980 by Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, but new copies are not available.