Nathan McCall's novel, Them, tells a compelling story set in a downtown Atlanta neighborhood known for its...more
Being a white girl from a privileged background living in a neighborhood that worries my coworkers, I thought maybe this could, I don't know, better educate me about the issues and why...more
Barlowe is a middle aged, hardworking black man who watches his neighborhood change as whites begin to tric...more
Former Washington Post reporter Nathan McCall's previous work includes a memoir and a collection of essays. Like the characters in this debut novel, reviewers agreed that the ground covered in Them is valuable, but they disagreed over how it should be treated. While all critics thought that Barlowe is a complex protagonist and a fascinating black voice, many thought that McCall's white characters are little more than stereotypes. Some reviewers interpreted these characters' lack of depth as sati...more
This was a slow moving story but I enjoyed it. Nathan McCall deals with the issue of race cleverly. In this story, a white couple moves into a black neighborhood, and it is the white couple who find themselves unwelcome.
Barlowe Reed is the main character who at times strives to be the good guy, yet at times falls into the role of passive. At times, you want him to stand up and take a side...any side. The couple that move in next door to him (Sean and Sandy Gilmore) wonder what is it that they've...more
Them, his 2007 novel, is his first work of fiction. It concerns the gentrification of an Atlanta suburb, close to where Martin Luther King Jr wa...more
McCall came to Portland, Or to promote his novel, and this booksigning was rolled into a community meeting about gentrification, namely of the Alberta district. First, this was an incredibly effective example of the value of fiction to tie concepts together in a matter that is accessible and cohesive. The discussion to which this book and the subject matter led was inspiring, fiction bringing people together.
As for the book itself, overal...more
This is a story that takes place in the Sweet Auburn Avenue of Atlanta, Georgia. This is a poor, predominately black area that was once considered the richest mile of black business in the world. Today, it is the haunt of prostitutes, drug dealers, and alcoholics.
Barlowe Reed is a black man living in this area and has a job as a printer. He is renting a house with his cousin Ty, who is an ex-convict. The...more
This read like a YA novel in that the theme was belabored and oversimplified - the words they and them were frequently italicized in the text, just in case the reader didn't get the connection to the book's title. The language choices and dialogue seeme...more
This book, written by a former Washington Post reporter, covers the very sticky subject of gentrification in a poor Atlanta neighborhood. McCall gets into the heads of characters on both sides--both the poor blacks and the slightly-less-poor whites buying up the cheap property.
The problem, I thought, was while Barlowe seemed like a decently well-rounded character, the white characters were all so stupid. Sandy and Sean didn't seem like real p...more
A quote on an already ge...more
Up until this point in my life, I could not fathom why people would burn books. Now, I see why. This is a piece of garbage that no one should waste their time reading. It's a load of stereotypes, ignorance, and absolutely NO originality.
Mind you, I didn't pick this book. This is the Roswell Reads 2009 selection....more
This certainly feels like a first novel, and it's one I enjoyed reading at times but wanted to toss it across the ro...more
The story is the story of both gentrification and racial tension, but I will argue that because the racial tension occurs everywhere and is so violent, it becomes the primary focus of the novel. Those individuals of the same race, even if they are of different "classes," are able to mingle to one degree or another, while those of different races are not able to mingle without...more
Some parts struck me as so untrue (especially the final incident) that I just took it with a grain of salt and accepted the fa...more
This is a story full of racial tension throughou...more