Book review: “The Search for Belle Prater” by Ruth White
Book Reviews / February 11, 2013

In this companion to “Belle Prater’s Boy”, Gypsy and her cousin Woodrow do a little more growing-up in the small town of Coal Station, Virginia. It’s still the 1950s, when families like Gypsy’s are just getting their first TV set and, by running a wire up to a mountaintop antenna, they can pick up all of two networks. Black people are still (inexplicably) described as colored folks, barred from entering many businesses, and required to sit at the back of the bus. And more than anything else—even more than having the operation to straighten his crossed eyes—Woodrow wants to find out what became of his mother, the Belle Prater of the title, who disappeared one night and left him alone with his hard-drinking, good-for-nothing father.