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Review of Midnight Without a Moon

jackson_midnight-without-a-moonMidnight Without a Moon
by Linda Williams Jackson
Middle School    Houghton    310 pp.
1/17    978-0-544-78510-6    $16.99    g

In the summer of 1955, thirteen-year-old Rose Lee Carter chafes at the daily drudgery of life in rural Mississippi. Rose, who lives with her sharecropper grandparents, suffers from low self-esteem fostered by her despotic grandmother, who incessantly reminds her of her undesirable dark skin color (“blacker than midnight without a moon”). She longs to join her mother and favorite aunt, who leave the South in search of better lives, settling in Chicago and St. Louis, respectively. Rose’s routine is precipitously disrupted when Emmett Till, a teenage boy from “up north,” is killed for allegedly whistling at a white woman. The murder deeply affects her as she attempts to negotiate the dilemma of a community divided between those who are afraid to challenge the status quo and those who demand change. Through her friendship with the local preacher’s son, Rose gains insight into the intricacies of the segregated South and begins to realize her own sense of place. This nuanced coming-of-age story by a debut author is deftly delivered, with engaging characters set against a richly contextualized backdrop of life for African Americans during the Jim Crow era. It’s also an authentic work of historical fiction (supported by Southern vernacular in both dialogue and vocabulary that accurately reflects the era) about a pivotal incident in the civil rights movement.

From the January/February 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Pauletta Brown Bracy

Pauletta Brown Bracy is professor of library science at North Carolina Central University. She is chair of the 2015-2017 Coretta Scott King Book Awards committee and serves on the 2017 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards committee.

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Comments

  1. I think that this book review really wants me to read this books. Just the review that this book had gotten me chills. I really want to read this books and see what this is all about because I have learned how “black” people suffered through the railroad (Canada) and how they turned into slaves. I really just wanna read this books more closely and read it cover to cover. Thank you for this wonderful review and I will have to look into this book. This really seems very interesting to me because back then (not anymore) people used to make black people into slaves and I just think that is wrong! And what this review tells me about what this books is, is awesome. I just don’t understand why white people have to treat other people awful just because their skin colour. Black is just a label. They are people to. Thank you for this wonderful review, and have a great day everyone. 😀

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