Mahrya's Reviews > The Road to Memphis

The Road to Memphis by Mildred D. Taylor
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Nov 19, 08

bookshelves: juvenilia
Recommended for: Ages 10-14
Read in November, 2008

Taylor, Mildred. The Road to Memphis, Puffin Books, 290 pages. Fictional chapter book, historic fiction.

Description: In this sequel to the book, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Cassie Logan is nearly grown up, attending high school in Jackson and thinking about college. When her friend Moe lashes out at some white people who are tormenting him, things become dangerous for everyone in Cassie's life.

Review: Like its prequel, The Road to Memphis, does a great job of portraying the treacherous racism of 1930's Mississippi through the eyes of an identifiable protagonist. Girls will like Cassie, who thinks clearly in dangerous situations and bluntly speaks her mind to boys and girls alike.

Taylor's strength as a writer lies in her ability to establish mood through use of dialogue and setting. For instance, in the scene leading up to the book's key incident, where Moe knocks the tormenting Simms brothers unconscious, the dialogue is terse and rude, and the setting is uncomfortable. Pre-teen and young adolescent readers will appreciate the ways in which Taylor employs literary techniques to tell an effective story.

Professional Reviews:
Vasilakis, Nancy. Horn Book Magazine, Sept./Oct. 1990.
Vasilakis emphasizes Taylor's use of the car trip as a metaphor for "a journey into the dark heart of Southern racism." I agree that the trips did seem metaphorical.

Schuller, Susan. School Library Journal, June 1990.
Schuller criticizes the fact that the side plots of a friend's pregnancy and another's death do not meld well with the main plot. This is an apt criticism. These plot lines seem to end and pick up again in a rather abrupt manner.
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