Growl is a paranormal thriller set in the fictional town of Junction City, Mississippi. Southern food plays a major part in the story. In fact, the main character's family owns one of the two local restaurants: Newcomb's Diner.
Sheryl Ilene Newcomb is only two weeks away from the start of her senior year at Junction City High School. She works part-time at her family's restaurant, is the head cheerleader of the Junction City Cheering Cats, has a steady boyfriend named Dane, and plans to leave the small berg once she graduates. Her grandmother (whom Sheryl calls Meemaw) shares cooking duties at the diner with the oldest living resident of Locasia County, Papa Joe.
Papa Joe is also the last remaining full-blooded Choctaw in Junction City. His heritage and Sheryl's are key components in the story. The Choctaw belief in skin-walking (the ability to change forms) is at the heart of Sheryl's life story.
One of the major discussions about Sheryl's new abilities happens at the dinner table at her family's home. They are surrounded by fried chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes, fresh tomatoes and chocolate cake as her entire family comes face-to-face with Sheryl’s new duties. The sense of a close-knit family, surrounded by a meal prepared by the hands of those who love her, hits Sheryl’s emotions hard, knowing it will be the last time things are “normal” for those she loves. Once the loving, comfortable moment is over, she drops the bomb on them about how her life, her destiny, will alter their perceptions about the world, and her place in it.
In another scene that takes place at Newcomb's Diner, southern comfort food is offered to a very distraught woman who found her employer dead upon her arrival at work. When the death of this particular resident is discovered, the southern tradition of bringing platefuls of food to the remaining grieving family members as respects are paid, showcases the comforting abilities of a home-cooked meal.
Since the book also deals with the ability of certain characters to change forms into those of a gargantuan predator, human flesh is also on the menu!
Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Ashley!
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