Trust me. This is one book you have never read before---fierce and honest, with a brave little heroine who'll steal your heart.

The most memorable and surely the scariest coming of age story I have read in years. Faulknerian in its themes of place and the past, Dickensian in its scope and widely varied cast of characters with nary a stereotype among them, MULBERRY moves from heart-stopping to heart-wrenching to, finally, heart-warming. The extravagantly talented and deeply compassionate Paulette Boudreaux has written a wonderful novel.

-Lee Smith, author of Dimestore: A Writer's Life, Guests on Earth, and The Last Girls


Mulberry is a charmer and a heart-breaker, too.  This soaring coming of age story proves what the old folks say: the truth really does set us free.  Paulette Boudreaux is an exciting new voice in southern literature and I can't wait to see what she does next.

-Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow and Leaving Atlanta


Maddy Culpepper is literary cousin to Ellen Foster, unpacking her “collection of little lessons in grief” with heart, pluck, and the sharp-eyed wisdom of innocence.

–Kim Church, author of Byrd


I finished Mulberry yesterday and was as amazed by it as I had sensed I would be. Maddy just came alive, as did her whole family. Not only could I see the boys, I wanted to hold and comfort them. The parents were all too human, and the intimate description of their struggles allowed me to feel compassion for them - which might have been hard to come by after the children suffered so...Mulberry so deserved the Lee Smith Novel Prize…Congratulations on a wonderful book.

-Kathleen Grisson, author of Glory Over Everything and The Kitchen House


Mulberry, is really good and grabbed me on page 1. It’s that rare combination of literary but very readable (kind of like Pat Conroy). And her writing is extremely visual…The other impressive element of Mulberry come from something Barry Eisler said at his launch. This really stuck with me. He said that he “gets to know” his character before he worries about the plot details…Paulette obviously worked on getting to know her characters because I connected to all of them…I highly recommend that you read Mulberry…”

-Lloyd Russell, The Book Sage  (Read complete review here)


It is wonderful. I couldn't put it down...what is it about the 11-year-old narrator? …do writers just somehow know that that is the perfect liminal age, the perfect voice to describe the anguish of growing up, losing your innocence, in the segregated South? comes Maddy, a black girl growing up in abject poverty in Mississippi…with parents whose own troubles put her practically in abandonment, placing her in the position of having to care for her three younger brothers, Maddy learns far too much about the grownup world far too soon. The plot-twister of a conclusion is both surprising and exactly right.

Congratulations are in order to Paulette Boudreaux for this remarkable first novel.

 -S. G.               


There was a catch in my throat and unspent tears in my eyes as finished the last sentence of Mulberry.
Mulberry is poignant, sometimes disturbing, and ultimately hopeful. I experienced each character and circumstance as if I were there. And Maddy will live with me always.

Mulberry is a cherished literary gift.

-L. M.


A really good read! You will be submersed in another reality. The book is unusual in that it is about some of the trials and tribulations of growing up as a poor black kid in Mississippi. It reminds me of the feeling I got when I was reading "Bastard Out of Carolina," looking at the world through the eyes of someone living in a part of America that the rest of us rarely gets to see…I definitely recommend this book as a good read.



A vivid coming of age story about a black girl in the segregated South in the US. This beautifully written story really makes you feel like you're in that time and place. I can see why this book won an award.

-B. M.


Mulberry is Multifaceted, Mellifluous, Magnanimous, and Magnificent…a swathe of the American Fabric, with timeless penchants of hope, faith, struggle, joy, search for meaning, and the power of perseverance…

-A. B.


This beautifully written coming-of-age novel was a joy to read. Boudreaux's characters are developed within a story that is enthralling from the first page to the last. Through Maddy’s eyes we are sensitively introduced to the terror and confusion of growing up within a family in turmoil. This is a book that once started you will not want to put down. Looking forward to more from this writer.

  -B. L.


Yay, Paulette, for writing such a great book!



Honest and Uplifting; pure magic. A surprising aspect of this book for me was the main character Maddy's ability to pull the reader into the the story. …there's something about this book, a combination of plot, writing style and Maddy's confiding voice. You can't help but keep turning those pages until the end….Maddy's narration is magical. With the simple, painfully honest observations of a child yet the thoughtfulness of an adult she spins a dark tale with a silver lining. In other words, although her life is full of strife she lifts you up as you read and you close the book a stronger person. I highly recommend...

-Amazon Customer


Couldn’t put the book down. Well written account of a young woman growing up in a hardscrabble environment in small town Mississippi. Beautiful characterizations, especially of Maddy and her family as they struggle to survive after her sister's illness takes the mother away from the home. Captures the invisibility that black and white communities had for each other during segregation.

-Amazon Customer