Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

Rich in Love is Lucille Odom’s first-person account two years later of events that occurred over a six-month period when she was seventeen years old. Her story begins on a bright May day when her mother disappears from home and ends with Lucille looking forward to beginning a new life in college in January.

After Helen Odom abandons her family out of a need for independence and self-discovery, Lucille’s father, Warren, becomes paralyzed with grief and regret. Soon, Lucille’s older sister, Rae, arrives with Billy McQueen, who has sabotaged their contraception to cause Rae to become pregnant so that he might persuade her to marry him. Meanwhile, Vera Oxendine, a hair stylist, resolves to bring Warren back to the world of the living. Lucille’s confusion about her changing family situation and Billy’s rejection by the restless Rae bring them closer together, and one night they make love although they know that their relationship will be a platonic one.

By the conclusion of the novel, Lucille’s parents have divorced; her father has remarried and moved into the bungalow of his new bride, Vera; Rae has come back to Billy, given birth to a girl, and settled into a new home; the family homestead has been sold; and Lucille has moved into her mother’s newly built house, works at the local library, and is preparing to leave for college.

Everything that Lucille has valued seems to have changed or vanished. Her family has...

(The entire section is 561 words.)