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Clean Getaway: 02/01/20

Clean Getaway

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone and illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile is about a family struggling with secrets and shame, coming together over an impromptu roadtrip. William "Scoob" Lamar and his dad had plans to St. Simons Island but the trip was canceled after he got in trouble at school. Now he's in a newly purchased Winnebago with his G'ma and he's left his cellphone at home.

G'ma at the wheel

Scoob's G'ma is white. She and Scoob's grandfather married as soon as it became legal to do so. Her trip with Scoob is an attempt to recreate the trip she and he took. The trip takes them past a number of Civil Rights landmarks. Each one, rendered beautifully by Dawud Anyabwile.

Like How to Avoid Extinction by Paul Acampora (2016) and In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph M. Marshall III and Jim Yellowhawk (illustrations) (2015), the grandparent / grandchild roadtrip is a means of exploring national history and family history. The road becomes the mentor.

Different, this time, is the fact that Ruby Lamar has taken William without her son's permission or knowledge. Near the end of the book, things escalate to the issuing of an Amber Alert. Clean Getaway, then is also like Counting to Perfect by Suzanne LaFleur (2018) but with more at stake.

Placement of Clean Getaway and three other novels on the road narrative spectrum

As the chart shows, Clean Getaway and the other three middle grade novels all sit on the road narrative spectrum, and fairly close to each other. Were I to re-read In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse I would probably re-classify it as a family (33) journey, rather than a marginalized (66) one.

Scoob and G'ma as a family are recapitulating the trip Ruby and her husband took in the late 1960s. Family and couple are interchangeable traveler types (33). As the route they take is motivated by Ruby's memories, the destination is uhoria (CC). The route they take is the Blue Highway, again to recapitulate the original journey (33). All together, Clean Getaway is the tale of a family traveling through uhoria via the Blue Highway (33CC33).

Five stars

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