Juvenile historic fiction
I can't remember when I have ever waited so eagerly for a book
to come out. Awhile back I read and reviewed Deborah Wiles'
Countdown, the first in a sixties trilogy. Its format took it a step
beyond a well written novel with a compelling plot and believable
characters. The rich inclusion of periof newspaper clippings, song
lyrics, public service announcements, and other period primary
materials made reading the book a real immersion experience. I
wondered if the second book could live up to the high standard set by
Revolution did in spades. A young person reading it will get a
good grasp of the time and place in which the characters dwell.
Bibliophiles like me who were alive when the sixties were going on
will get a stroll down memory lane.
Although Sunny and Ray both reside in Greenwood, Mississippi in
1964 they might as well live in two different worlds. She is white;
he is black. Jim Crow is still the law in the South.
As the story starts the Freedom Summer is about to begin.
Believing that meaningful change can not happen until blacks are able
to vote in large numbers, scores of organizers, mostly college
students, are en route to southern cities to help blacks register to
vote, to run freedom schools, and to provide material and legal aid.
The undertaking is highly risky, especially for the local blacks who
attempt to register. Many local powerful white leaders will do
anything, legal or not, to maintain their advantages.
Greenwood is a relatively small city where denizens of both
colors are highly interconnected. In this confusing and tempestuous
time all lives are about to be changed for better or worse.
The underlying historical story line is interconnected quite
nearly with the personal narratives of the two protagonists. Sunny is
coping with the new stepfamily her father has acquired by marriage.
Ray's parents differ sharply on how to respond to the challenges.
Even being seen with an organizer can cost a job and means of
supporting a family or even more.
Like Countdown, Revolution is richly layered with period source
materials. Pictures in particular bring home the reality of the time
and place in which the fictional characters are depicted.
On a personal note, with Eugene at camp and Adam and Katie gone for
the weekend it's just me and Joey cat. Tonight I'll play a DVD or two
and try to forget that we're home alone. I'm about to hike up to
Orono in the cold to find myself human company while library is open.
A great big shout goes out to all who collect garbage and recycle.
The frigid temps and intermittent snow have given us ample cause to
commend their work ethic.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod