Review of For Lamb

For Lamb For Lamb
by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Middle School, High School    Holiday    304 pp.
1/23    9780823450152    $18.99
e-book ed.  9780823455034    $11.99

Lamb, shy protagonist and one of several narrators, tells of growing up in 1940s Jackson, Mississippi, with her brother, Simeon, and Marion, their tough-as-nails mother, a talented and outspoken seamstress and closeted lesbian. Lamb keeps quiet, works hard, and performs well in school. Headstrong Simeon, a brilliant student, aims to leave the South on a college scholarship and eventually earn a doctorate like his high school principal. Marny, a bookish, redheaded white girl, attempts to befriend Lamb, who finds the girl hard to refuse and meets with her secretly. Their relationship ultimately compromises the family’s safety after Marny’s older brother sexually assaults Lamb. When Lamb tells Simeon what happened, his retaliation sets off a series of brutal, life-changing events for the whole family. Cline-Ransome deftly creates unforgettable characters, each with a distinct voice, and exposes readers to the oppressive racism of the Jim Crow South. Tangentially connected to the Finding Langston trilogy (Finding Langston, rev. 9/18; Leaving Lymon, rev. 3/20; Being Clem, rev. 7/21), this standalone novel is a devastating page-turner that tells an all-too-realistic story.

From the March/April 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Dr. Michelle H. Martin
Michelle H. Martin
Dr. Michelle H. Martin is the Beverly Cleary Professor for Children & Youth Services in the Information School at the University of Washington in Seattle.

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