The Peach Seed

Macmillan Audio. Aug. 2023. 15:28 hrs. ISBN 9781250899798. $32.99. F
The Dukes family of Albany, GA, has a long-standing family tradition—each father carves a peach pit into the shape of a monkey and gives the talisman to his son or sons when they turn 13 years old. Although family members have tried, no one has been able to discover the origin of this tradition. In the present day, women family members object to the gender specificity of the family rite of passage. Widower Fletcher Dukes is confronted with his past when his old love, Altovise Benson, returns to Albany. As the story unfolds, old loves, festering animosities, misunderstandings, genetic inheritance, and family lore are addressed. Three generations work together to confront their differences, while flashbacks to previous generations explain how the peach seed monkeys came to be. Though the story is occasionally preachy, Jones’s debut, which incorporates insight into the civil rights movement and the ruinous cost of alcohol and drug addiction, satisfies. Jones narrates smoothly, but her slow, even delivery makes it difficult to distinguish an angry argument from a lively discussion.
VERDICT A moving portrait of a Southern Black family, highlighting the value of forgiveness and the possibilities for change.
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