Scarlett Sister Mary is about the shame, and eventual redemption, of Sister Mary. The story takes place in the deep south in the early 1900s, among a black community living on an old plantation.
Sister Mary is a member of the church, but when she dances on her wedding night, she is kicked out. When her husband soon leaves her, her shame truly begins. She wants to be a member of the church, but she can’t resist the life of sin and pleasure that she truly enjoys. As the years pass, her struggle becomes more acute, ultimately reaching a climax.
This book is interesting in that it gives an incredibly detailed inside look at a culture most people are not familiar with. I’m sure that’s why it won the Pulitzer. It’s fascinating to read about the family traditions, birthing rituals and church society of that culture. In some ways that culture is very far removed from our own, but that makes the similarities all the more remarkable. Their wedding traditions are a simpler version of our own, modern traditions; their birthing rituals could be the template for the natural birth movement; and the dogmatic, fundamentalist church, while in many ways foreign to a modern reader, is also very similar to some modern-day churches.
On the whole, though, I wouldn’t recommend the book. The story is antiquated and the plot would likely seem bland to most readers. It’s not bad, it’s just probably not worth your time when there are so many amazing books to read.