Sunday, January 22, 2006

Claiming Georgia Tate

Amateau, Gigi. 2005. CLAIMING GEORGIA TATE. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 0763623393 [Suggested Grade Levels 8 and up]

Georgia Tate Jamison has lived with her Nana and Granddaddy Tate in Mississippi since she was an infant. Granddaddy is a Presbyterian preacher. Nana is the stern, but loving preacher’s wife. Georgia Tate is twelve-years-old when her father decides he wants her in his life again. Her father has rights, so Nana and Granddaddy have Georgia Tate visit him in Florida. While visiting her father he commits an insidious act against her. When Georgia Tate convinces Nana that she must come home immediately, Nana agrees, but she doesn’t tell Granddaddy why Georgia Tate is home earlier than expected. When Nana dies a short time later, the reader learns that Georgia Tate’s mother was a teenager when Georgia Tate was born and she had tried to commit suicide, but failed. She abandoned her infant daughter to give her the chance of a better life. Unaware of the Florida debacle, Granddaddy thinks he has no other choice but to let Georgia Tate’s father take her now that Nana is dead. Thus begins a nightmarish existence for Georgia Tate as she is forced to endure her father’s sexual abuse.

The loving relationship between Georgia Tate and her grandparents helps this novel transcend the frightening subject of incest. Georgia Tate’s faith-filled voice sustains the reader when her traumas seem unbearable. “Every day I pretend I’m still the girl who ran around the garden, catching frogs, looking up at the sky until it was time for lunch. I keep thinking: I have been there before and I can get there again.” (Amateau 2005, 176)

Have young adult readers practice what they would say if they needed protection from an abusive adult. Investigate local resources available for victims of domestic abuse.

Map the towns in Mississippi and Florida that Georgia Tate has to visit.

Other books that address attempted suicide and abuse:
Koertge, Ron. MARGAUX WITH AN X. ISBN0763624012
Maynard, Joyce. CLOUD CHAMBER. ISBN 068987152X

By Judy Brown McKenna

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