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The Fog Machine

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  44 ratings  ·  10 reviews
This exploration of prejudice and what enables and disables change is set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1964 and told from three very different perspectives. To Joan Barnes, 12 years old in the summer of 1964, freedom is her birthright. As for Mississippi's Negroes, freedom was settled by the Civil War, wasn't it? Negroes are no longer slav ...more
Paperback, 406 pages
Published June 2nd 2014 by Lucky Sky Press (first published January 1st 2014)
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Janie Mckinney
Nov 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In "The Fog Machine," Susan Follett's "ear" for the nuances of intergroup relations (e.g., black and white, Catholic and Protestant) in the South of the 1960s is abundantly evident from the first few pages, and it remains emotionally pitch-perfect throughout the book. Follett's story transported me, often rather uncomfortably, to my own Southern childhood, a childhood I still find myself simultaneously longing for and abhorring -- longing for because it was a relatively carefree time in my own l ...more
C.P. Lesley
Even without the almost daily headlines reporting racial injustice in Ferguson, New York City, Cleveland, Madison, and elsewhere, it would be difficult to grasp that fifty years have already passed since the March from Selma to Montgomery to protest discrimination against African-Americans. Events that take place in our own lifetimes or the lifetimes of someone we know do not seem like history, and recent Supreme Court decisions combined with the incidents that populate those headlines raise que ...more
Laura Keep
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is another book about such atrocious events that I hate to say I loved it. I'm not well versed in the civil rings of this issue, at least not much further than high school textbooks and the occasional tv documentary. This presented it in a way that drew me in, completely, and made me want to fight, even today. I drew so many parallels to the civil discord of today. I felt so strongly for the characters. I wanted to keep reading, to keep feeling, to keep fighting. I found this powerful and w ...more
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I felt like I became CJ when I was reading the book, her emotions became mine. There have not been many times when I have been so drawn into a book. Great writing and such an important time to remember. I am looking forward to hearing the author speak at an event in Rosemount MN Feburary 17, 2015.
Donna Stuedeman
Mar 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. I'd like to give it a 3.5, but I'm bumping it up to a 4 because I do feel I learned a little more about the Civil Rights Era. I would recommend it to book clubs as it could make for an interesting discussion based on things happening in our country right now. ...more
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read this book last year - it must not have been here on GR at the time - because I read it and really enjoyed it!
Eileen Sanchez
The Fog Machine by Susan Follett – Commentary by Eileen Sanchez

How do we understand our history? Reading about characters that touch our minds and hearts is one way. Atticus Finch tell us “to consider things from another person’s point of view…climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Meet CJ from The Fog Machine. Reading history from CJ’s fictional point of view provides thought provoking talking points about Civil Rights history for Book Clubs or classrooms of students.

Philadelphia Art Muse
Dec 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, race
I have read quite a few books having to do with race relations but I don't think I have picked one up having to do with "freedom summer" before. This story was mainly told from the POV of C.J. who works as a maid in a town outside of Meridian, Mississippi. Troubles with employers escalate to the point where she takes a job in Chicago to get away. Years pass and circumstances bring her back to Mississippi during the summer of 1964 along with a Jewish friend who comes to work at the freedom school ...more
Matthew Lee
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
I hate to say this, but the writing was really hard to read in my opinion. Everyone had the same tone of voice, and the characters were very flat. The storyline was nice, but the execution was pretty poor. This book touches on racial inequality which is nice, but the writing is so hard to read that it's hard to empathize with the characters or recognize the emotions or problems of the characters in the book. ...more
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Book club pick. This dragged. It felt like a knock-off of The Help, but without any humor.
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Susan Follett grew up in the epicenter of the civil rights movement: Mississippi in the sixties. Her career in corporate technology management took her to the Twin Cities of Minnesota, the Bay Area of California, and Portland, Oregon. But a documentary she saw as a young adult, about the March from Selma to Montgomery, haunted her. Though the march occurred scarcely 100 miles from where she grew u ...more

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