Dancing in Cadillac Light


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“Grandpa came to live with us the day after the highway men came to blacktop our road.”

Whenever her feelings get the best of her, Jaynell Lambert climbs into an old junker in Clifton Bailey's Automobile Salvage and Parts and pretends to drive away. It's the summer of 1968, and within a year the dirt road in front of her house will be paved, Grandpap will move in and men will walk on the moon. It's enough to make anyone wonder. But for now, Jaynell, her sister, Racine, and their parents live with dust and potholes, dreaming of their lives turning into something grand.
Grandpap's moving in shouldn't mean much more than Jaynell giving up her room and setting another place at the table. But when he goes out and buys a 1962 emerald green Cadillac convertible, nothing is the same again. It isn't the driving lessons he gives Jaynell on the sly or the way he turns on the headlights for Racine to dance in their glow. It's what happens later. Its what happens after he's gone.


Inspirations


 Caddo Lake

Caddo Lake

Although Jaynell and Racine are different from my sister and I, the relationship they have is similar. I used those real emotions in my story.

This is the only time one of my stories didn't begin with the setting. The characters came first. When I first saw Caddo Lake, I knew it was the perfect place for Jaynell's story.

 Kimberly(left) and sister Alicia

Kimberly(left) and sister Alicia

Reviews


"Gritty and poetic, stark and sentimental, howlingly funny and depressingly sad... a solid page-turner. Holt, once again, displays her remarkable gift for creating endearingly eccentric characters."
-School Library Journal, Starred Review

"Holt's prose has acquired a liquid ease that seems to flow straight from the page to the reader's inner cinema; one hardly seems to read this book so much as absorb it whole."
-The Times-Picayune