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Seeing Red

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  863 ratings  ·  190 reviews
National Book Award winner Kathryn Erskine delivers a powerful story of family, friendship, and race relations in the South.

Life will never be the same for Red Porter. He's a kid growing up around black car grease, white fence paint, and the backward attitudes of the folks who live in his hometown, Stony Gap, Virginia.

Red's daddy, his idol, has just died, leaving Red and M
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Scholastic Press
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Popular Answered Questions
S.J There are many themes in this book and as a one there isn't one theme, but here are my themes that I saw in the book Love,Racism and Friendship.
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
S.J Your almost getting to the mystery but I won't say more or else it will become a spoiler.

Community Reviews

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3.95  · 
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 ·  863 ratings  ·  190 reviews

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jv poore
This book begs to be read, the story must be heard. Red’s tumultuous summer of ’72 deals with an imperative, yet oft untold part of our history. Discovering these deplorable truths is painful. Many acts of our ancestors are unfathomably cruel and hateful; particularly when one expects that his great-great-greats shared the same sense of kindness, generosity and justness that his own parents instilled and nurtured in him.

My history books told of progress in 1972. Nearly 20 years prior, the Suprem
The Styling Librarian
Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine – Historical Fiction, 6th grade and up (I know in some reviews it has 5th grade for the level but the topics are more of a middle school level in my opinion.) Released in October – I felt quite honored to read this book by the powerful Kathryn Erskine who creates touching, thoughtful books. I wasn’t sure what to expect but apprecaited her approach to the perspective of a young adolescent boy whose father recently passed away. Red is a pretty powerful character set i ...more
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library, ya, fiction
A sudden heart attack has left Red’s family at a loss. Red’s daddy has passed away and things just aren’t the same. Red used to help his daddy out in the repair shop repairing people’s autos and now Red still goes into the garage just to talk to his daddy even though his daddy no longer mans the shop. His mother on the other hand, sees the constant reminder of the shop as something totally different, “If I can’t have him anymore I don’t want to have pieces of him all around me, If I can’t hear h ...more
Carol Royce Owen
Oct 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes a story needs to be told purely and simply without a lot of flash, frills or fanfare. The truth has to be told plain and simple as Red, his mama and brother, J. And this is how Kathy Erskine brings us Seeing Red.
Still grieving the loss of his father to a sudden heart attack, twelve year old, Red, is doing all he can to be the man of the house and to prevent his mother from doing the unthinkable - selling their home, shop, and store and moving out of state. Angry and desperate when he
Ms. Yingling
Oct 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Red Porter lives in small Stoney Gap, Virgina town in 1972. His father has passed away, and his family is barely surviving. They have an auto repair shop and convenience store, and Red tries to work there with Beau, a very loyal but somewhat simple minded family friend, but his mother is bound and determined to move Red and his brother J to Ohio to be with her family. There is something to be said for this plan-- Red hates school, he is always at odds with the Dunlops next door (except for daugh ...more
Reading is my Escape
Seeing red indeed...
Discover the past,
understand the present, 
change the future.
The thing is, when you get over the flu, everything goes back to normal. When your daddy dies, nothing is ever going to be normal again.
-Chapter 14

The above is not a spoiler. The fist sentence in this book talks about Red's dad dying. Red was really close with his dad. They fixed cars together in their shop. Now that Red's dad is dead, Red's mom is trying to figure out how to survive without him. They are living
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Seeing Red is historical fiction, taking place in 1972 Virginia, and definitely for older middle grade readers, as Erskine doesn't sugar-coat the history of the time period.

Why Kids Will Love It - Any middle grader who loves historical fiction will love this book. It goes into much detail and really makes the reader feel they are in the early 1970's, and girl or boy, it doesn't matter. The book is pretty fast paced and keeps the reader on their toes. Many characters seem a bit stereo-typical at
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love Kathryn Erskine and her Author's Note in this book says it all:
"I wrote this book so that readers might see that, no matter what your age, you can make a difference. If you think something is wrong, change it. If you think people are being wronged, change that. You have the power to change things about your world. That doesn't mean you'll always win--often, you won't--but even making an attempt to "fix it right" does have an effect. Above all, you have the power to be whatever kind
Oct 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-lit
This is a must read for everyone, young and old. Red is a young boy who has lost his father, whom he idolized. His world is further upended when his mother decides to sell his father's gas station to move to her home state. Erskine weaves the civil rights movement in Virginia seamlessly into this tale. And she fills it with unforgettable, yet totally believable characters (Miss Georgia, who makes one think of Maggie Walker, a pioneering black woman from Richmond) and details of the early 1970's ...more
Jarred Hicks
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thought the book had a lot of meaning to it. There was a big moral and how some kids can relate to how Red felt throughout the story. The story takes place back in the 60's and that is why it was such a good book to me, because Red was a boy who grew up helping his dad work on cars and he learned from watching and also helping. As the story moves along Red talks about the people and their cars that they drive. The cool part is reading this book in this time and age the cars are collectible and ...more
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is such a wonderful historical-fiction story that also ties in great messages about friendship, family, and doing what's right. I feel this would be an excellent companion to any U.S. History/Government lesson involving race relations. The pop culture references of the '70s may be lost on younger readers, but they will still understand the powerful messages Erskine ties in to her story. Highly recommend!
☆dani rae☆
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book made me almost cry. I wanted too, but I can't cry over books or movies. It made me want to cry, scream, rejoice, and kill people. I absolutely loved it
May 31, 2013 rated it liked it
I liked this book. A look at racism and sexism in 1970s Virginia through the eyes of a middle schooler. A good follow up to a book like Lions of Little Rock.
Cindy Williams
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Definitely an "amazing" book to read. Took me right back to my school days when I was learning about inequality among the races. I think that Kathryn did an outstanding job with this book. I loved following the mystery and guessing where that church was. Ended up being found in the perfect spot. Just fitting for the narrator of the story.

This would be a great book for 5th through 8 graders to be assigned for reading classes.
There were many aspects of the later 60's through the 70's that were v
As hard as the unexpected loss of his father is for twelve-year-old Red Porter, the changes that follow that loss may be even harder. As his mother decides to sell the family business--a gas station, car repair shop and convenience store--and the property and move to Ohio where her family lives, Red just can't imagine leaving his Stony Gap, Virginia home. After all, the Porters stand for something in this town, and Red takes seriously the family slogan "We fix it right." But despite his best int ...more
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: diversity, the-south
So I basically spent this entire book on the verge of tears. I had NO idea what I was getting to with this book. It's set during the 70's and it deals with the aftermath of the civil rights movement and the rampant sexism that was still in place. This book is powerful.

Every thing in this book is so layered - in a lot of ways it reminds me of To Kill a Mockingbird (I know I have said this about another book only a couple weeks ago - I promise not everything reminds me of TKaM!) Sometimes the read
Nicole F
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Red grew up around cars, grease, white paint, and tools his whole life because his family owns there own car shop. but ever since Red's dad has passed away there mom has been talking about wanting to sell there business, but Red is trying to stop her taking away something he loves. but ever since his father died he has been the man in the house, taking care of his mother and little brother. he never gets to even be with his friends. finally red realizes that there is much more to life than cars. ...more
Taylor H
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Seeing red is a very good book, it helped me to start looking at things a little bit differently. At first I didn't think i would like it but then it turned out that it was amazing. A couple of interesting things happen in this book, you will meet Miss Georgia, Red, Miss Miller and a couple other important characters. The book talks about a lot of stuff like something happens to people that Red really cares about and he does something he isn't proud of, but he keeps trying to make it better, whe ...more
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
I had a hard time getting through this one. I did not find the main character very interesting, or any of the other characters honestly besides maybe Miss Georgia. I did not care enough about the plot to pay attention and figure out what was going on with the property problem. It seemed strange that Red had never noticed the racism in his town before. The characters were also too clearly divided into the "good," non-racist ones and the "bad" ones. Darrell was maybe the only character with any su ...more
Mandy Chilcote
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent historical fiction! A plot with many layers about identity through the lenses of civil rights, women's rights, domestic violence, family loss, heritage, and coming of age (the obvious in young adult literature). The main character's balance of positive and negative actions makes him realistic and relatable to readers. After judging others for their acts, he faces a dark truth in his own family, bringing a depth to the book that resonates with adult readers, as well. Glad this one is on ...more
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
National Book Award winner Katherine Erkine's powerful book kept me up reading at night. Red Porter is growing up in 1972 in a small town in Virginia. Dealing with grief, racism, and family, Red learns that he can help change the course of history. I truly loved this book!
Dec 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
this is a great story for middle aged women who like to fantasize about what "coming of age" is like. gotta say i am so sick and tired of this white washed b.s. that pretends to ask tough questions.
Jake Schulte
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine is a fictional novel. When reading the book, I kept hearing the famous words of Martin Luther King Jr. who said: “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” This seemed to be a common theme in the book because there was a conflict with race in the setting.
Frederick Stewart Porter, AKA Red, is still not over his father’s death, and to make matters worse, his mother wants to sell the auto shop, t
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"The truth will set you free." Or so writes Miss Miller on her board.
When I studied history in school, I learned dates, events, and names. I didn’t learn the motivations, the stories, the different perspectives on the truth, and most important, I didn’t learn what changed and what still needs to change. And I didn’t learn to reflect on where I stand and how I can become an agent of change. Teachers told me what to think; Miss Miller “tell[s] us to think!” In his first classroom encounter with th
Rebecca K
Sep 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine is a book about a boy names Red Porter. His father has died and he is devastated. His mother wants to move to Ohio and sell his fathers beloved family business which is where red and his father really bonded. His friendship with an old friend named Thomas slowly starts to deteriorate as well as his friendship with a girl named Rosie Beau and Mrs Georgia. Red doesn't want to lose his memories in the town and he is scared loosing the shop would mean loosing his fathe ...more
Isaac T
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is about a kid named red that is twelve years old. He makes a lot of bad mistakes and has to do work for them. He has a little brother named J and that is the only sibling he has. his last name is porter and he lives across the street from his best friend Rosie Dunlop. He has another friend named Thomas but they started to grow apart especially because Thomas was already a little older than Red.

Red porter is a good kid But he doesn't always make the right choice. And sometimes he hung
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
A sudden heart attack has left Red’s family at a loss. Red’s daddy has passed away and things just aren’t the same. Red used to help his daddy in the repair shop repairing people’s cars and now Red still goes into the garage just to talk to his daddy even though his daddy no longer woks in the shop. Red's mom wanted to sell there repair shop so they can move closer to there relatives in Ohio. They sold there repair shop and move. Red joined a klan which alienates him from his black, once best fr ...more
Alice Hays
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book took me a bit longer to get through than is typical for me but I think that is because some of the characters were richly developed and I was hesitant to find out for sure what was going to happen because there was a sense of foreboding throughout. This book looks at a young man weighed down with family responsibilities coupled with the need to do right for his fathers legacy. While he makes some potentially disastrous decisions, he quickly realizes the negative implications of those c ...more
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is really awesome. In the beginning its sad and not very interesting but the more you read it unfolds the family's history and the truth behind all this mess and why a family is being hated because of the man's actions. (spoiler alert)

In fancy words (not really, just normal words to describe the book) I would it sad, interesting, different, shows different perspectives and is very much a reality.

All the characters have both a soft side and idk a hard side. Also they are protrayed diffe
Dominic Clark
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
“ Thomas raised his head to look at me, and his eyes told me everything: anger, sadness, resentment, disappointment.” In that I thought it was super deep and into the book and this porter dude he is a little scared because in the part where he stepped out from the circle and did want to be part of the brotherhood anymore.

Okay this book was pretty cool and all with the hidden secrets and all but it might be boring for most like if you can just seat take you time and just read a very deep and down
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Kathryn Erskine spent many years as a lawyer before realizing that she'd rather write things that people might actually enjoy reading.
She grew up mostly overseas and attended eight different schools, her favorite being the Hogwarts-type castle in Scotland.
The faculty, of course, did not consist of wizards, although... how did the headmistress know that it was the wee redhead who led the campaign
“He said sometimes hope is the only thing that keeps us going” 6 likes
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