Rebellious Katie Darlene was the youngest of three children until her baby brother was born with a heart defect. The bright teenager tells her story of growing up in a military family during a time when boys are dying in Vietnam, men are landing on the moon for the first time and her father, a mess sergeant in the Air Force, is ordered to a remote mission to Alaska.Theymove to her fathers hometown in Texas to have access to a military hospital and to be near family.To complicate Kate's problems, her immediate family, led by a Yankee mother, is faced for the first time with Southernisms, especially involving race relations.
The feisty Kate- which is pronounced Kite in a Texas accent- keeps readers captivated and cheering for her throughout.Her story recalls eighteen months in a town full of people who can't help but admire her but wish she'd hurry up and conform so she will become the precious young lady they all know she can be.Life with her is never dull as Kite shares intimate moments such as when she triesto shave her legs, learns how to deceitfully fill the top of her first formal, experiences her first kiss and discovers boys can be teased without any effort at all. She takes life as it comes and tries to make it bend to her will. This isn't easy for a person who is colorblindin a segregated town. Her story is something to be cherished and pondered.
The book is full of emotion as she struggles through a time in the late sixties when the raging Vietnam war was taking away boys as soon as they turned eighteen and wasnt always sending them home. The blood, sweat and tears of the civil rights movement was flooding much of the country and causing enormous change. But it had made not a trickle into some small towns, including where Kite must live while her father is away.
Kites life changes rapidly.She would have preferred her biggest worry be about how to wear her hair. But, she can't keep societal changes out of the context of her personal life. She cant just be a kid anymore, with a hula hoop and a bag of jax.
The story begins with a forward explaining the workings of her family, opens a door into her personality and tells how Kite came to live in a small Texas town in 1968 where no one seemed to know about the Beatles or that racism was against the law.
She is accepted in the town because she is kin to almost everyone. Her Texas kinfolk believe there is one Glory Child born into their family each generation that is destined for some kind of greatness. Kite seems to be the chosen one since she is beautiful, has a genius I.Q. and is very outspoken.Kite takes this Glory Child business all in stride, mostly because that is her personality and the title loses significance to her since her father was supposedly his generations Glory Child and she knew of nothing exceptional he ever did.
Kite does appreciate being accepted and enjoys -as most teens would - fitting in as quickly as possible. Especially since her parents moved her into such a peculiar place where people speak slower and think unlike anyone shes met while growing up onmulti-ethnic Air Force bases.The transition is not as easy for the rest of her family and her mother is somewhat of an outcast since she comes from a state that fought against the confederacy. A confusing point for Kite who thought the war between the states was over except for its historical relevance.
The story moves quickly with something consequential occurring on each page as Kite and the town grow up together.The people are unusual but real. Kite is an honest soul and does not hold back as she moves the story along with her innocent and often self-centered insights into a complicated world when perspectives about women, race and other important issues were changing in a way that would affect generations to come.