Your Blues Ain't Like Mine
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Your Blues Ain't Like Mine

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  4,604 ratings  ·  100 reviews
"Intriguing...A thoughtful, intelligent work...The novel traces the yeasr from he '50s to the ate '80s, from Eisenhower to George Bush....She writes with simple eloquence about small-town life in the South, right after the start of the great social upheaval of he civil rights movement....Campbell has a strong creative voice."
THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD
Chicago-born Amrst...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 10th 1993 by Ballantine Books (first published 1992)
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Shanae
I just finished reading "Your Blues Ain't Like Mine" and all I can say is, "Wow!" Bebe Moore Campbell (may she rest in peace) wrote a really fantastic historical fiction novel. The language was beautiful! I'm fascinated by Campbell's writing. I am still trying to figure out how she managed to switch narrative voices, so accurately, with so many characters. Each character had a distinct voice. For example, the strongest characters, Delotha, Ida, Mamie, and Doreen all have a completely different v...more
Natasha
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karenshaff
Finished this book months ago, and it is amazing. The writing, and the story-telling make me feel as though I know the characters personally and have been in the deep south/Chicago amongst them. The story takes place before, during, and somewhat after the civil rights movement, in the south and some parts in Chicago. The blacks working as cotton pickers, getting lynched for the slightest things, the southern "white trash" poor being angry and jealous when the manual labor jobs and such are given...more
Linda
Your Blues is a novel that you can't put down, but need to in order to absorb the reality of racism and American history. It parallels history and is peppered with references to actual incidences that occurred during the civil rights (Emmett Till). However, on the merits alone of being an excellent novel and story the characters will stay with you for a long time and may surprise you by feelings of empathy for the most hateful of people. Racism impacts all the lives of these characters in the de...more
Kevin Porter
This modern day fictional retelling of the events that preceded and followed the brutal beating death of Emmett Till is a visual and visceral story rich with memorable and authentic characters, beautiful prose and dialogue that rings true. Bebe Moore Campbell is a powerful storyteller who captures the essence of the characters and times. Campbell is a treasure gone too soon.
Jenn Anne
Fascinating. Well-written. Honest about difficult subjects including racism and domestic abuse. An intriguing exploration of the effects of a single violent action, weakness, strength, despair and hope. Well worth your time.
T Neff
What an inspiring story! It was a page turner from beginning to end. I really enjoyed it. It was spiritually touching. If you like books like this, you should also "Under the Peach Tree" by Charlay Marie.
Graham
I cannot recall why I had been reading the history of Emmet Till, but I had been, and it led me to add this book to my reading list, and then, as you might expect, reds it.

This is an excellent book. Even the title is perfect -- it explores the blues for a variety of different people; the families of the murdered boy, the families of his murderer, friends, local people. And while they all have their tragedies, they are all different, and compelling, and moving. The author loves her characters. It...more
mark monday
amazing book but having to hear all of my white classmates dissect race was grueling.
Becky
This book follows the families who are affected by the lynching of a young black man in Mississippi.

This book bothered me on so many levels. First, this book is a book without any hope. I don't have a problem with reading a book that deals with people struggling and sometimes not overcoming the struggle, but in this book, no one overcomes any struggles. We have the family who killed the boy and their who lives and the lives of their children (even the one not yet born) are ruined. And then we h...more
Michelle
Your Blues Ain't Like Mine
Bebe Moore Cambell
Fiction
323 pages

Repercussions are felt for decades in a dozen lives after a racist beating turns to cold-blooded murder in a small Mississippi town in the 1950s. Bebe Moore Campbell's affecting memoir, Sweet Summer: Growing Up With and Without My Dad, was hailed by The Philadelphia Inquirer as "a remarkable achievement." "Ripe with family stories, lush with images, suffused with emotions," said the Kansas City Star. "It is probably one of the more over...more
Keyanna Taylor
The book Your Blues Ain’t Like mine written by Beebe Moore Campbell is a truly intriguing and inspiring novel. Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine illustrates the lives of two families, one black one white but both very poor. The book shows these two families journeys through the period of the Civil Rights Movement and experiences with segregation. The characters within the novel help portray real issues and struggles that this time period in the American South encompassed. I enjoyed this book because it...more
Ruth
332 pages. Donated 2010 May.

"Intriguing...A thoughtful, intelligent work...The novel traces the yeasr from he '50s to the ate '80s, from Eisenhower to George Bush....She writes with simple eloquence about small-town life in the South, right after the start of the great social upheaval of he civil rights movement....Campbell has a strong creative voice."
THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD
Chicago-born Amrstrong Tood is fifteen, black, and unused to the ways of the segregated Deep South, when his mother...more
Sarah
The joy is that there are whole worlds of authors out there waiting to be discovered. You never know what you will find. I have never read any Campbell before and while I didn't love this book and it isn't perfect, I really liked it and enjoyed the arc of the characters.
This novel is based on the Emmett Till case. Campbell takes the structure of Till's vicious murder and follows the characters in the aftermath of the crime. The book deals with some heavy issues, but was readable and the fates of...more
Carol Baldwin
"The blues is something in your soul telling you they ain't no hope, shit ain't never gon' be right." (p. 410)

This multi-generational book begins in the 50's in the Mississippi Delta and carries the reader through to the mid-80's. Ms. Campbell did an incredible job of portraying the racial conflicts in this time and place. Definitely a book with adult content, I would highly recommend it to those who are trying to understand the origins of racial tensions in the South. Kudos to Ms. Campbell for...more
Roy
The setting of this book progresses from the eve of integration in rural Mississippi to the present-day housing projects of Chicago. It begins with the shameful murder of an African-American teenage boy who unknowingly commits a taboo act by speaking in French to a white girl, and follows the boy's family, the family of the murderers, and other citizens of the small town for the next four decades. This novel takes on a lot — perhaps a bit more than it can effectively chew — but ultimately does a...more
Rachel
I'm ashamed to admit that when I picked up this book (in 1994ish) I had never heard of Emmett Till or the events that inspired this book. What is up with history education in this country that this incident is not common knowledge? Or at least it wasn't to me.

This book is a portrait of the issues facing African Americans in this country in both the past and present. The characters are well developed and you feel really emotionally moved by the events that shape their lives. Campbell is good at...more
Essefjay
The book is amazing. If you have not read it,
Please, do so. She is a good author.

SFJ
Garth
Whenever I hear someone rave about The Help, I suggest they read Your Blues Ain't Like Mine. The Help has good parts, but on the whole Your Blues Ain't Like Mine -- a novel based on the Emmett Till murder -- seems so much more realistic and honest about how horrible conditions were for African-Americans in the 1950s South.

Here's a post I wrote about the novel for Newsworthy Novels, a blog that matches novels to today's headlines and events (this entry was for Black History Month): http://newswor...more
Ronald Wilcox
A young black man in a small Mississippi town in the 1950's makes a few comments to a white woman when she steps into a pool hall. The response to this interaction leads to dramatic long-term effects on several families in the town of Hopewell, MS, and in Chicago. An excellent dramatization of the racial tensions over the next forty years as there are changes in the country. If you liked The Help by Kathryn Stockton, you will really enjoy this novel too. Debut novel by this author who now has se...more
Jennifer
Interesting story that takes place in the midst of change. Very detailed character development as the death of one boy in a Mississippi town during the civil rights movement forever changes and affects each character's life. I have never read anything that takes place right smack in the middle of such changing times, very interesting to think of how all these characters and felt. Also interesting to see that while change is good, it can be slow and painful, even for those it seems to benefit.
Pam
I remember reading this book when I was younger and it was amazing then and is amazing now. The way that the book seamlessly goes through the years, relating to events that happened at the times - and then placing those events in the lives of the characters in the book still impresses me. After many authors have come and gone over the years as well as many books, Your Blues Ain't Like Mine is still a must read for all readers and especially African-Americans of all generations.
Asha
After a few pages I almost decided not to finish the book. It seemed that I had heard the story before (I had...in some way) and it was one that I didn't want to read. I pressed on, that first day, and read almost to the end, leaving myself about 1-- pages to come back to on another day. After I finished reading those pages, I was surprisingly and completely impressed. The author told several stories that all coincided with the others. It turned out to be a pleasant read.
Tonya
Mar 11, 2009 Tonya rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I loved this book. It's a great, entertaining way to encourage you to consider what someone else has been through. It clearly illustrates the concept that our experiences form our beliefs, and no matter how bad we might think we have it, someone else may always have it just as bad or worse. It was based on the Emmet Till incident of the 50s; Ms. Campbell used her literary skills to make such a horrendous historical account an education in living. Definitely a must read.
Mercedes Colon
I really loved this book. It chronicled the lives of several families from Mississippi from the 1950s through the crack epidemic. Campbell uses such poetic language in this book; it's a wonderful read.
Heidi
I am still not 100 % sure how I feel about this book. I do know that I enjoyed reading it. I am sure that was because it was so well written- very raw and honest. However, I didn't really love any of the characters (maybe I felt a little bit for Ida) and that really bothered me.

Over all a great read (it kept me up at night which is always a good sign!). I think this is going to make for a very interest book club discussion next month!
Joelle
I REALLY liked this book. Set in Mississippi and Chicago, this novel follows the lives of 3-4 different families. The novel traces these families and how they live in a changing United States from the 1950s-80s.

In the beginning, a young man is killed for speaking French in the general direction of a white woman. This incident happens at the beginning of the civil rights movement and the tragedy has consequences for many.
Katie M.
I've pretty much never met a Bebe Moore Campbell book that I didn't like, and this was the last of her novels that I hadn't read... with no more to come, sadly, since she passed away at a ridiculously young age in 2006. Nothing hugely innovative in this story about being Black in the rural South and the urban North in the second half of the 20th century, but you don't need to be innovative to do okay by me.
Marian
Probably a 3 1/2. Interesting view of the Jim Crow era up through the 80s. The beginning of the book was especially strong, with an Emmett Till-type event taking place in a small town that affects all characters in a different way. Gets a little clunky towards the end when Campbell tries to show the passage of time through cultural references (like MLK's assassination and Michael Jackson, etc.). But worth reading.
Angela
It took me a little while to get engaged with this book but once I did, I couldn't put it down. Very compelling story, beautifully written. I've read quite a few books about Segregation and the South and as a non-American white woman, I know I'll never completely understand what it was like to live during this time. I appreciated this book for it's unflinching honesty. Great read, highly recommend it.
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Bebe Moore Campbell (February 18, 1950 – November 27, 2006), was the author of three New York Times bestsellers, Brothers and Sisters, Singing in the Comeback Choir, and What You Owe Me, which was also a Los Angeles Times "Best Book of 2001". Her other works include the novel Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and the winner of the NAACP Image Award for...more
More about Bebe Moore Campbell...
Brothers and Sisters 72 Hour Hold What You Owe Me Singing in the Comeback Choir Sweet Summer: Growing up with and without My Dad

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“That's what a man is supposed to do for his wife. Listen, if a nigger didn't get lynched every now and then, well, there's just no telling what they'd do to us."

"Who?" Lily asked.

"Why, honey, the niggers and our husbands both. I don't care what color they are; men build up steam. And they gotta let it out somewhere. Colored men. White men. They both crazy. Honey, the point is you gotta look at it this way: A whole lotta women can't, "I got a man who'll kill for me." ”
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“In all his imaginings, he had never envisioned her crying. He knew that her son had died, but he'd never expected that her pain might be anything he could recognize, almost as though he believed that Negroes had their own special kind of grieving ritual, another language, something other than tears they used to express their sadness.” 0 likes
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