I put off reading this book for ages because I thought I knew what it was about: a southern lawyer defends a black man accused of raping a white woman. But that really only represents a small part of the plot. Would you believe the trial doesn't even begin for a hundred pages? This is a poignant, hilarious (what a surprise!), magnificently written coming of age story that really captures the beautiful (and sometimes cruel) absurdities of living in the south. Words like habiliments and scuppernongs will be with me forever.