Sarah's Reviews > Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
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Aug 10, 11

Read from July 29 to August 10, 2011

This is a book with a clear message: Racism Is Bad News. A perfectly good message, and one that's important to share with kids, but I just wish M.D. Taylor hadn't felt the need to hit me over the head with it quite so much. The plot was interesting and the writing was good but I had issues with several things. Firstly, Cassie is in the third grade, which makes her, what, eight or nine? In which case her 'voice' as a narrator was completely unbelievable. This is from her description of her living room:

"The furniture, a mixture of Logan-crafed walnut and oak, included a walnut bed whose ornate headboard rose halfway up the wall toward the high ceiling, a grand chiffonier with a floor-length mirror, a large rolltop desk..."

Also, she was always conveniently in the right place at the right time, eavesdropping on the adults' conversations to find out vital plot points and then drawing remarkably mature and intelligent conclusions about them, instead of just being scared and not really understanding what the big people are worried about, like a normal eight-year-old.

Secondly, I understand that the author is writing from a perspective of bitterness about the racism that many people black people experienced in the 1930s, but I felt it was a bit unfair of her to present all the white characters (with two exceptions) as stupid, racist red-necks and all the black people (with one exception) as kind, wise, hard-working and good.

In conclusion, if I was going to get a class to read a book about this issue I'd definitely pick To Kill a Mockingbird over this one. It's a very similar book in a lot of ways, but it has a more realistic and balanced portrayal of the world - good, bad and indifferent characters of all colours - and presents its message in a much more subtle way, which (strangely enough) makes it much more powerful.
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