Jodi Papazian's Reviews > The Rock and the River

The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon
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's review
Apr 01, 2011

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bookshelves: ya-reads
Read in March, 2011

The Rock and the River is yet another 2012 Nutmeg Nominee. What I enjoyed most about this book was the range of emotions I experienced while reading it. I feel that Magoon did an excellent job with having the reader really feel like they were right along side the characters throughout this story.
The Rock and the River tells the story of Sam Childs, the son of a very famous Civil Rights Leader in the late 1960's. His father is a friend of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's and he has spent Sam's entire life teaching him and his brother that violence is not the answer.
Sam, and his older brother Stick, have begun to grown weary of their father's philosophy as they continue to witness brutal injustices happening in the black community. When one of Stick's friends introduces him to a new group called the Black Panther's, Stick is drawn to their ideas that differ greatly from his father's.
The heart of the story lies with Sam. He is torn between wanting to please his father while fighting his curiosity for what his brother is doing.
While I really did enjoy this story, I felt that certain areas were not given enough attention. The trial for Bucky seemed to play such a large part in the story, as well as in the family dynamic, that I was disappointed when Magoon did not spend any time describing what happened.
The near-ending found me crying on my couch feeling shocked. I almost wish that Magoon had just ended it there, with Stick. That would have allowed the reader to imagine how Sam and his family moved on, as well as which path Sam would eventually walk down. However, the story did continue and it began to go at a rather confusing pace. I understand that Magoon wanted us to feel the rage right along Sam, however, everything just began to feel very rushed and unresolved.
All in all, it was a good read. Very emotional and fast paced. I ended up bringing it home to finish because I was so wrapped up in it. Probably a good thing considering the amount of tears it produced!

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