We are presented with a family in Mississippi that is very typical of what we might think of as a traditional small town, southern family. By the end of the book, we are witness to the formation of a new family, mostly self-chosen, 3000 miles from Mississippi that personifies the "resurgence of collective possibility".
Family is a funny thing: in the traditional sense, it's an entity created by luck of the draw, people who are tied together by biology, and sometimes grow together and sometimes grow apart. Kincaid explores a new kind of family - one that people choose, either consciously or subconsciously. They fight as much as traditional families, and they also love fiercely. They believe in one another, even in the darkest hours. They are drawn to one another.
Through the whole book, I thought about this idea of having a calling, of being drawn to someone, or something, without any true justification. Could be a career, or a certain city, particular people, or a cause you care about. It overtakes you -- no one tells you that you must dedicate yourself to this person, place, or ideal. You are just compelled to.
This is cause for great hope for all of us. Some of the characters in the book took a good long time to find their calling, others found it very quickly, and others thought they found it and then realized that they actually belonged some place else. It's never too late, or too early, to find our place in the world. And sometimes that place shifts, and the best we can do is know that the Universe knows better than we do. One things is for certain: if you are open to your calling finding you at every turn, then eventually it will.