When 12-year old Della Kelly finds her mother digging black seeds from a watermelon in the middle of the night, becoming obsessed with killing every possible germ in their house, and talking to people who aren’t there, this young North Carolina girl worries that the sickness that put her mother in the hospital for months several years ago has returned. With her father struggling to save the family farm in the face of scorching hot summer temperatures and a lingering drought, Della tries to take care of her rambunctious toddler sister so her mother can rest. Afraid to let her grandparents, church family, and even her best friend know how bad things have gotten, Della would do anything to cure her mother. A story that reveals the unpredictability and emotions of mental illness and its effect on all those it touches, this book is one that shows the healing impact of supportive family, friends, community, and professional help. With the prevalence of mental health conditions in all corners of today’s society, this is a book that pulls back the shades on this issue for the mature reader.
Where the Watermelons Grow is a beautiful and sometimes heartrending exploration of what it’s like when someone you love is chronically ill.