By Bloomsbury Review
James Earle Martin, known as Sugar, is having a rough time. His mother has died, and he is living with his Uncle Free on a swamp filled with snakes, bugs, and leeches. Because of a railroading acccident, Uncle Free can barely walk and uses only one arm. The women from Sweet Kingdom Church disapprove of his mother’s choice for his guardian. Young Stewie Pearson calls Sugar ‘swamp rat’ and detects the smell of fish. Just when things couldn’t get much worse, Sugar learns that the trustees of Sweet Kingdom have reallocated the money his mother donated for a stained-glass window featuring black angels. After the years she spent saving money in turn-of-the-century Mississippi her dream and her memorial will not be represented when the new church building is dedicated. Young readers will root for Sugar as he learns to fight for his mother’s dream and to enlist others. Of equal importance, this short novel values Uncle Free’s self-sufficiency, the bonds of extended family, and the challenges of community. Mama’s Window slyly creates outsiders and insiders who ultimately prove indistinguishable from one another.