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Book Review: Indiana
Summary from GoodReads:
Indiana, by N.C. Weyl, is an intimate and often unsettling view into the heart of middle America in the 1930s. In a community where poverty and racism are a sub-theme of existence, readers are introduced to Samantha (Sam), a child who witnesses a terrible crime and must decide between revealing the shooter—the kindly, slow-witted Mr. Purdy who acted out of a need to protect—or letting an innocent man—the brutal and racist father of the woman attacked—go to prison for a crime he did not commit. Thrown into the mix of this drama-based-on-reality is the role of the Ku Klux Klan, the attitudes toward intermarriage and mixed-race children, and one community’s ability to change with the times…or remain inert and provincial. This is a compelling story, told from the viewpoints of multiple characters—primarily innocent children forced to make courageous decisions—and how injustice and intolerance can affect a family…and an entire community.
My Review: When I saw this title, I had to read it. I was born and lived all of my life, other than the last nine years, in Indiana.
This book follows a time in history where the KKK was a big thing. Where you were not an unwed mother and where you didn't dream of having a biracial child. It's told from several different characters, but is never confusing and is very well told. I always have a hard time getting past the *ignorance* that was so present years ago and had I listened to my Grandparents, I'd have probably followed the same ignorant ideas.
I started school in 1980 in Indiana and our schools were all white until I was in sixth grade. Even then, there were only a handful of families that weren't. In junior high there were less white families and in high school even less. This book made me so thankful that I have always had my own thoughts, no matter what I was told. I could never imagine being like those who were so unaccepting in this book. I am also glad to have raised my children color blind and hope that they'll keep passing that forward.
This book is kind of a slow start, but please to let that keep you from reading it. You'll hit a point where it starts to fly. Best of all, the ending is not what you think.
Sam, one of the main characters, has witnessed a crime. Will she tell the truth? Or will she allow an innocent man to die? What happens when a young mom is not only unmarried, but also the mother of a biracial child? Will she help to open up the eyes of others?
N.C. Weyl does a wonderful job of getting the ideas across of life in the 1930's and the closed-minded thoughts that some people still have.
My oldest daughter, 12, is biracial and it's something that, from time to time, we still have to deal with. It's a shame. However, this is a book that I'm going to try to get her to read as well. Indiana is a reminder of the past and a reminder to things that, to some extent, still need work. I recommend this book for all book shelves.
Review copy of this book provided by the author/publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.