Having fled New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit the town, this storm also blew her mother out of her life and to a job as a waitress at a casino in Biloxi. Now visits every other weekend have dwindled to whenever they feel like it because Ramona works two jobs, delivering newspapers at sunrise and bussing tables after nightfall. She feels that she has to contribute to family survival because it takes all they've got to keep their sagging trailer and food on the table. Yet despite her less than carefree life, Ramona looks at life with humor and heart. When her childhood friend, Freddie, returns to Eulogy with his Grandma Agnes, Ramona finally has people in life that are willing to take care of her with hearty breakfasts and morning trips to the local pool.
From the novel's opening, I connected with the characters because their life was as imperfect as the world in which we live. Ramona grapples with her commitment to her family, her understanding of her own sexuality, and what to do with her life beyond high school. In an age when social media and pop culture tells us that others have it altogether, Ramona Blue is a great reminder that we need to offer ourselves and others a great deal of grace. Ramona's answers are not easy ones that fit into a box or always end happily ever after, but that's what makes her such a beautiful and courageous person. She felt real and relevant to me from beginning to end.