I found this at Goodwill for a dollar the other day. Loving non-fiction and personal stories and seeing this kid's cute, smiling face I had to get it.I found this at Goodwill for a dollar the other day. Loving non-fiction and personal stories and seeing this kid's cute, smiling face I had to get it. And I'm glad I did because I'm going to hang onto it for when Julia's older. I think all kids should read this, black, white, every race. I do have to say that I think Roth did a disservice to this story. I'm not big into art but I can appreciate certain forms. But her collage art in this text makes the book seem tacky. And the story and author are anything but. If pictures were available they would have gone a long way with me and I'm sure many others. If they weren't then leave it up to the reader. Even one or two current pics of the author if that's all he could include would have been better than what Roth did. I'm not going to rate the book on that though. I'm rating it for what it is - a short story, for the younger crowd, meant to show them what it was like way back when. Tillage wasn't a slave. Tillage's parents weren't slaves. Tillage's grandparents weren't slaves. But his great-grandparent's were. Walter was born in 1936 in North Carolina. And while he was a "free" man he may as well been a slave. Some of the things he tells of in this book alternately make my blood boil and run cold. The story of his Father's death makes me want to try to find if the people involved are still alive to find them and torture them. Then the one boys Father. The fact that there was ever a time in this country where what happened to Tillage's Father happened is out of this world. I literally cannot imagine. What's interesting is that even in that time, there were normal people sprinkled in here and there. (And I stand by the use of the word 'normal' because IMO racists are not.) Tillage even mentions a few times when whites and blacks came together. I'll never understand it but I do know this - I would have never survived. Everyone being equal isn't something I learned, it's something ingrained in who I am and I honestly believe it would be that way whether I was born in 1920 or 2020. I don't often get to say this but it's a shame more people can't be like me. ;-) Leon's Story is very fast. So fast I read it while eating breakfast yesterday and I finished the book before my breakfast. Apparently Tillage lives and works (lived and worked?) in Baltimore, MD. and speaks yearly at a local school(s). Tillage is the kind of person you wish you were able to shake hands with. He seems like a real upbeat and positive person even after all he's seen, all he's suffered. It's a shame more people can't be like him. :( ...more
This is a Blue Hen nominee which is the reason I noticed it this week at the library, along with Jake by Audrey Couloumbis, which I'm reading now. TherThis is a Blue Hen nominee which is the reason I noticed it this week at the library, along with Jake by Audrey Couloumbis, which I'm reading now. There are a lot of things I loved about One Crazy Summer, not the least of which was Delphine. Delphine, the main character, is mature for her age, caring for her two younger sisters and making all of the wise decisions usually left for a parent. At the same time, she's still a pre-teen and that peeks out every so often. This all makes her very relatable to many, many people. Delphine is a pre-teen black girl living in the Bronx, N.Y./Oakland, CA. I'm a 33 year old white woman living in the suburbs. Yet I was able to relate. I love that the author included many different types of characters in the story. Crazy Kelvin was the full fledged racist which was needed IMHO for a story like this and there were others who were a few rungs below Kelvin on that particular ladder. Yet most of the characters were not racist. As much as these people were concerned with the state of things at this time, and with their race, there was no racism from these certain characters. (Race is a touchy subject with me so I was very happy for this.) I saw one or two reviewers mention the problem with the Oakland streets and landscape. I want to mention that if I was familiar with Oakland, and if I knew this to be true, it would have affected my rating. Something like that does mess up a story to a certain point for me. Being that I don't know Oakland and I don't know the people speaking of the discrepancies it didn't matter to me here at all. But, if they are correct, and it sounds as if they are, I think it'd have been fairly easy to change a few aspects of the book so this wouldn't have been an issue. For example, instead of Hirohito gliding down the street on his go-kart there are a number if different ways to show what was shown here, an activity on a flat surface. But in the end this didn't affect me as I said. I'd certainly recommend this to anyone interested in good YA, race issues, the period of the Black Panthers in CA., etc. I'd be interested in reading something else by Williams-Garcia if I can find something that grabs my interest like this did.
Hmmmm. I've lost a lot of thoughts on this book because I had to go to the hospital and had started reading another in the meantime. I'll just go withHmmmm. I've lost a lot of thoughts on this book because I had to go to the hospital and had started reading another in the meantime. I'll just go with what I remember, it's all I can do. I remember thinking Dash did a decent job with his research, reaching out to so many extended family members and friends, etc. I also think Dash gave the family, Rosa Lee in general, far too much leeway and even though he caught her in lies again and again the reader is supposed to just believe her words as the gospel truth? I can't. I think a lot of what was said was true, sure. But not all of it. And more importantly maybe, Dash and/or Rosa Lee and/or anyone else, has no right to ask me to believe the words of a known liar. I'm supposed to believe that hustlers didn't mind serving the family in front of Dash? Umm, has anyone who read this ever actually known a drug dealer? My question is because I have. And the ones I've known wouldn't take kindly to having someone who looks like Dash sitting there watching him/her serve a fiend. The fact that Dash is black matters not - he's still not a fiend. He's obviously an "authority" which rules out his witnessing anything then and there. Another thing I didn't like was how Dash said he would "never give her or the family money". Now I'll pull that apart. Have any readers ever been addicted to drugs? I mean seriously addicted - like these people? Had a family member addicted perhaps? Because let's get real for a second, as rosey-happy as Dash was to make this part out to be, every single cent you save a drug addict, be it giving them food, a ride, whatever, is more money they have to get high. The truth is the truth. So, in essence, those morning McDonald's jaunts Dash and Rosa Lee had quite possibly only helped to put her in her grave. Dash's writing was good and that's saying something because he is a journalist and usually you get "newspaper stories" with a book like this from someone in that career. Did he deserve a Pulitzer for this? No. Certainly not. Everything Rosa Lee did had an excuse according to Dash. Oh, dope in the baby's diaper? So Rosa Lee could eat. Having her Granddaughter serve fiends on the corner? So her family could eat. Prostituting her daughter (the one who she just loves oh so much)? Oh, never you mind that, we needed to do that to eat. Go fuck yourself. You don't need to do any of that to eat. There are plenty of people eating right not doing none of that. And even though Dash seems to want to cover over this with an excuse or two, the proof is in the pudding. Two of Rosa Lee's own children, raised in the exact same manner, exact same conditions, with the same exact background, are completely opposite from herself and her other children. They have careers, families, homes. No criminal records, no drug abuse. How can anyone said "it's because of her past", "it's because of her ignorance", "it's because of racism"? Now, I'll say this, racism is out there and we all know that and it causes many problems. The racism from the past is still an issue if only because it was such an atrocity to many of us alive today that it even happened. But you can not blame everything on one thing. It doesn't work like that. Rosa Lee and her family knew enough to get whatever the hell they could from the government didn't they? They could do that. But they couldn't "eat" without selling pussy or drugs? What the fuck ever. The sympathy I feel for this family stems from the little bit I feel for anyone going through anything. The simple fact is that they disgust me. For three of her children to be knowingly infecting others with the HIV virus is beyond my mind's ability to comprehend. And this is just glossed over because, hey, they had family who were slaves. Okay. Well, just about every damn race, religion, color, creed, what have you, in the entire world has been fucked with to some extent over time. Some worse than others. Some more often than others. It's something we all have to deal with. How long though? How long can we use the pain that our ancestors went through for our own advantage? Is that what these family members would have wanted? Maybe. But maybe not. Regardless, the fact remains that most of this family has done nothing but harm society while society pays them to do it. And Mr. Dash gets a Pulitzer for telling us about it. This, my friends, is the world we live in. From my words here some many think I hated this book. I didn't. I think Dash did his research, I think he did a fairly good job of writing the family's story. My beef comes with Dash's thinking instead of this actual book. I hope that any children still in this family's vacuum are able to look at the few family members they have doing right and decide that right looks more glorious than wrong. ...more