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Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,692 ratings  ·  322 reviews
Set in pre-Civil Rights Mississippi, Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League is the story of two young mothers, Hazel and Vida one wealthy and white and the other poor and black who have only two things in common: the devastating loss of their children, and a deep and abiding loathing for one another. Embittered and distrusting, Vida is harassed by Delphi's racist sheriff and ...more
Hardcover, 439 pages
Published February 4th 2015 by Maiden Lane Press (first published April 26th 2012)
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Jonathan Odell Hello, this is the author, Jonathan Odell. I've forwarded your question to the publisher. We WILL get you a book. send me your address and I'll make s…moreHello, this is the author, Jonathan Odell. I've forwarded your question to the publisher. We WILL get you a book. send me your address and I'll make sure of it. Also, I'm concerned you can't find the book on Edelweiss. I'm checking into that as well. email me at Thank you so much for what you've done for my books. I'm indebted to booksellers like you who take such an interest in the literary lives and their patrons, and bet their reputations on me. here's the link for the book on Edewiess

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Diane S ☔
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A perfect book to read for Black History Month. Mississippi, 1950's and Hazel, newly married is living with her husband Floyd, an up and coming man in the white community. Hazel though, is not really accepted, she is out of her depth and feels this way as well. She will lose a son, take up drinking and have to fight hard to be a mother to her remaining son. She will do this with the help of a black woman, Vida, who has been hired to watch Miss Hazel. Vida has had loses of her own, her and her fa ...more
Feb 20, 2015 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

Oh I do love a novel set in the deep south and Miss Hazel and the Rosie Parks league didn't disappoint as its a story that shows how how the power and determination of one woman can inspire and transform the lives of a town.
Set in the Delta town of Delphi, Mississippi two different but truly memorable women one white and one black form an unlikely frindship and give us an insight into the roots of the civil rights movement in the south.

The characters in this novel are beautifully dra
Dale Harcombe
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four and a half stars.
Sometimes publishers need to be careful how they label books. This one said on the cover ‘If you enjoyed THE HELP you’ll love this.’ That comment nearly stopped me from reading this book. Not because I didn’t like The Help. I did. But I hate books being compared to another. Too often the reader is left disappointed. Not in this case though. This book is not The Help, and that’s not a bad thing.
It is a story of 1950s Mississippi and the conditions and tensions that exist be
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I liked the author's voice in this ambitious, entertaining novel of the Modern South. The black and white characters are well drawn and credible. The two female protagonists dealing with their adversity won my sympathy and admiration. The Mississippi Delta setting is vividly portrayed although I've never been to the region. The racial issues then are just as relevant and important as they are today. All in all, I'm glad I read it.
Connie G
Interesting characters that you can care about propel this story set in 1950s Mississippi. Hazel is a wealthy white woman with poor country roots who doesn't fit in with the neighborhood ladies. Vida is a black woman who is hired to do the housework in Hazel's home. They each are grieving the loss of a young child. Hazel tries to forget by drinking and taking long drives in her car. Vida is bitter and angry about her situation in the Jim Crow South, and tries to stay under the radar of the racis ...more
Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League takes place at a pivotal time and place, rural Mississippi, in the history of civil rights in the U.S. I was propelled through this story of a white woman, Hazel, and her black maid, Vida, who were thrown together by circumstance, who initially hated each other and who ultimately joined forces to tell their stories and take a step toward equality and justice. Their story is told vividly by Odell. I can see the bluffs, the Delta, the old storied white families ...more
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Unfortunately for everyone in my family, I read this 400 page book in two days. I simply could not put it down. I thought the character development was really well done. There were several characters in the book, yet they were distinct from each other. There were a number of different story lines that created great pacing for the book. The storylines came together at the end in a really satisfying way. The dialogue was exceptionally well done. It captured Mississippi in a way that never seemed o ...more
Cindi (Utah Mom’s Life)
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Miss Hazel and her husband Floyd arrive in Delphi, Mississippi newly married and determined to make their fortune. At least Floyd is determined. Until Floyd brings home a new Lincoln for his wife, Hazel feels like she's just along for the ride. Finding a bit freedom and peace, Hazel dresses up; packs her two young boys in the back seat and becomes famous for driving through town and all over the delta.

Hazel has trouble fitting in with the well bred ladies in town who see her as tacky nouveau ric
Sometimes comparing a novel to that of another, can be off-putting. Everyone has their own unique stories to tell, and should be celebrated in their individuality. On the flipside, nothing happens in a vacuum. Even if two people experienced and/or researched the exact same event or region or period of time, they would each have a different perspective, or focus, or message to bring to the table. Each "similar" story offers different facets to broaden the picture.

"Even though she was a colored w
Fred Smith
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League by Jonathan Odell is a well written very moving book It is a story with many voices that is set at the very beginnings of the civil rights fight in Jim Crowe Mississippi. It gives some insight into the plight of the blacks in the south of those days, their lack of value, their poor treatment, and their hopelessness in fighting back. It also points out the dangers of being a sympathizer of blacks in those times as well. It is the story of Miss Hazel, who is li ...more
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book reminded me of "The Help." However, the characters were not nearly as well-written. I didn't have the emotional connection to these ladies like I did for the ladies in "The Help." We have Vida, a proud maid who works for a white family. Hazel is the white woman she works for. They have both suffered great loss - Vida is much stronger than Hazel, who falls into an alcoholic stupor or a haze of pills. Somehow they become friends. With such interesting sounding characters, i should have l ...more
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Jonathan Odell writes books that grab my heart and don't let go, long after I have finished reading them. "Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League" weaves together themes of loss, injustice, and prejudice. The characters are each flawed in ways that are achingly familiar, and this is what makes them come to life for me. Anyone interested in the interactions of people from different backgrounds will not be disappointed. Please read this book!
4.5 stars I loved this heart felt story set in 1950s Mississippi of 2 women who find friendship despite unlikely circumstances. I loved all the characters in this story, especially all of the maids that were friends with Vida. If you like civil rights stories, this is one you will want to read.
Kimberly Brock
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. I read many of the passages multiple times not only for the language, but also for the wisdom. Insightful and heartbreaking. This novel reminds us we are creatures with souls, meant to laugh and required to love beyond ourselves in order to truly live.
Star Ryan
Apr 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had high expectations for this book after reading O'dell's other book, The Healing. This book was originally written prior to The Healing, but revised and renamed for a more recent publication. Not having read the original edition, I still felt it was pretty clear where the revisions had taken place.

The book was engaging although I feel O'Dell tends to stumble a bit and go off a bit in other directions near the end of his books. There was also a bit if repetition with his book I read prior. Bu
Victoria Bynum
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing

“Y’all know this is crazy don’t y’all? . . . Chances are we are going to end up dead.” (p. 365)

There is no exaggeration in Vida’s words to her four co-conspirators, three of them black maids like herself, the other a white housewife named Hazel, as the women secretly organize the Rosa Parks League of Hopalachie County, Mississippi. Jonathan Odell’s gripping new novel takes readers right inside the homes of 1950s’ Mississippians during a time when all hell broke loose after a black woman named Ro
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Last year a friend gave me a copy of Odell's book "The Healing" for my birthday. I had just moved back to Mississippi after being away for about 13 years. To be honest, I was busy at the time and didn't find time to read it until this past March. And, I'm glad I did.

Odell's writing style is captivating and heart-felt. The characters that he produces are illuminated by the necessary quirk that keeps them alive and human. Unspoken histories of this complex state (MS) find their way through the nar
Paulette Alden
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Jonathan Odell has written a highly entertaining, braided yarn of two Mississippi women, one black, one white, one strong, one weak, who find their commonality and strength in one another and in confronting the Southern, white, male, society that has tried to define and limit them. Despite the racist, sexist society of the 1950s it depicts so vividly, MISS HAZEL . . . is ultimately an optimistic book about the capacity to survive and grow, and to claim one's true self. It's full of crackling Sou ...more
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Linda by: BOTNS Booktopia Petoskey 2015
It didn't really take me 5 days to read this. It was really two major marathons.

I was really caught up in the story, not sure where everything was going to end. I think this would be a great book for a book discussion - both from the content and especially the writing. The transitions of characters seemed very abrupt, but I really liked the book.

I felt that the last 100 pages let me down. How did a young boy who had been spending time digging in the dirt under the porch all of sudden only wear d
Joan Wulfsohn
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League by Jonathan O’Dell

In his latest searing and insightful novel, Jonathan O’Dell once again raises the bar on the tradition of great Southern writers.
Mr O’Dell’s tragic depictions of Jim Crow era are at times almost unbearable to read, tempting the reader to escape to lighter fare, but at the same time finding the book impossible to put down.
Mr O’Dell introduces us anew to formidable women, (his forte), and fills us with hope and renewed belief in change at the
Pamela Klinger-horn
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I did not think it possible to improve on Odell's outstanding 2005 novel THE VIEW FROM DELPHI. This updated version, however, is absolutely stunning. Odell has a keen insight into his female characters, and the mother/son dynamic is spot on. The new rendering is sure to bring a wider audience for these incredible women. Southern literature does not get any better than MISS HAZEL AND THE ROSA PARKS LEAGUE
TIffany Mack
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-book-shelf
I truly enjoyed this book. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever felt different or wanted to release their inner self but was afraid of what others would think. I also like this book because it shows the courage that two women had not caring that their skin color was different and defied the laws saying that whites and colored could not associate with each other. Read this book and let me read your review of it.
Elisa Mayo
Dec 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written...Odell has the power to inspire through his words...if you've ever felt you weren't enough or you couldn't fit in, it's a must-read. In the end we all discover we had it in us all along.
Kate Towle
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend Jonathan Odell’s new book, "Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League"—a stunning window into the disparate realities of white and African American women on the threshold of the Civil Rights Movement in the Deep South. The book’s uncommon insights into the oppression not only of descendants of slaves, but of women, holds a rare mirror to the oppressive cultural patterns we’ve imprinted—as well as the cumulative acts of courage it will take to disrupt them. Odell also teaches us abo ...more
Karen O'Brien-Hall
Feb 26, 2015 rated it liked it
As an Australian it is difficult to totally relate to America’s South and the Jim Crow laws. Thankfully we have never experienced slavery, and the aftermath of a civil war. We rely on the books we read to educate us, but there is a fear that we can never completely understand what we read.

Jonathon Odell author of Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League, is American and yet he wrote “Growing up in Mississippi during Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Era, I, like most privileged white kids my age, was c
This book has a very unusual backstory as it was previously published under a different title back in 2004 and then revised and republished by a different publisher. But the author and agent really believed in the book, and especially after the success of The Help and other books and movies about the Civil Rights movements, it seemed the time might be better for the book now. And it does seem to be (although also the book might have been greatly improved in the revision, we don't know.)

Hazel gre
Amy Ariel
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-challenge
I've read that Jonathan Odell wanted to move past stereotypes and empty African American characters. He wanted to create complex women - one Black and one white - around whom to center this story. He wanted to avoid the storytelling tropes of Southern writers in telling the story of these two women and refute the notion that the Black women who worked in the homes of white families were 'family' even though no one cared to learn their last names, how many children they had or didn't, or anything ...more
Fran Whelan
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I discovered Jonathan Odell a few years ago when I came across an article he wrote about coming of age in the South. It was about this same time, his novel, "The Healing", was going to press. I snatched it up as soon as it hit the shelves at Barnes and Noble. Jonathan's upbringing was in the deep South in Mississippi. So, he writes from experience BUT he also researches a great deal for his historical fiction novels. He accurately portrays the times and language in his period pieces. So, not onl ...more
Joan Mansbach
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing

When Edith Wharton said, “There are two ways of spreading light: To be the candle or the mirror that reflects it,” it would seem she knew Jonathan Odell’s incandescent writing would burn in one’s mind long after reading it.
Its clear Odell himself lived the experience of prejudice in the south. His style is genuine, sensitive and beautifully crafted. He has given voice to characters that take on such a real persona; it is easy to believe he knew them. Writing in the voice of two women whose li
Book Review & Giveaway: First of all, happy birthday to Miss Rosa Parks and thank you for taking a stand or, rather, keeping your seat. If you ever doubted the power of one person to make a difference then all you have to do is look at Rosa Parks and the courage it took for her to stay in her seat when asked to move. That bus driver should have known better than to test a woman’s last nerve like that.

Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League is actually Jonathan Odell’s first novel; however, it was
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Born in Mississippi, I grew up in the Jim Crow South and became involved in the civil rights movement in college. I hold a master’s degree in counseling psychology and have been active in human resource development for over 30 years, including holding the position of Vice President of Human Resources for a Minneapolis based corporation and later founding my own consulting companies.

I am the author

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