Kris's Reviews > The Garment of Destiny

The Garment of Destiny by Thomas Thonson
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's review
Apr 02, 2012

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Read from May 27 to June 02, 2012

My review of 'The Garment of Destiny' by Thomas Thonson is a bit mixed. I loved the beginning of the novel. The protagonist, Eli Steadman was likeable, seemed hard-working and idealistic. As a college student he was being exposed to ways of life different from those he was raised with by his Caucasian adoptive family. Then Eli's professor, Moses Stokes decided to push Eli to run for student body President. Stokes introduced Eli to gangbangers, maneuvered his graduate student so that she could watch over Eli, and worked to convince Eli that his 'white upbringing' was hindering him. In the perfect world Eli would have resisted the negative temptations set before him, but he was unable to in 'The Garment of Destiny'. Ultimately he cheated on his girl friend with the grad student, ignored a childhood friend to spend time campaign hanger-ons, and agreed to stage a fake hate crime. I soon began to loose interest in Eli as his character's morals seemed to take a 180 degree turn.

I couldn't find any character I could connect with by the end of the novel. Eli, the bright promising student wound up in jail and refused to speak up for himself. It was if he decided he deserved his punishment; which he didn't. The police officer who was trying to decipher the mess around the hate-crime ended up in the hospital and was unable to convince Eli to stand up for himself. Eli's biological mother was killed and nothing became of her story line. At the conclusion of the novel it felt as though there were a number of potentially, strong story lines that were only partially concluded or explored. As a reader I was unsure if the ending was supposed to point out that despite some reforms, society still has a long way to go in order to gain racial equality or if Thonson wanted to emphasize the potential danger of stereotypes, regardless of who is making them.

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