BOOKISH FRIDAYS: “HAVE NO SHAME”

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Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What better way to spend a Friday!

Today’s featured book is one I purchased a while ago, in May 2014.   Have No Shame, by Melissa Foster, is a story that shows where civil rights and forbidden love collide…

 

 

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Beginning:   It was the end of winter 1967, my father was preparin’ the fields for plantin’, the Vietnam War was in full swing, and spring was peekin’ its pretty head around the corner.  The cypress trees stood tall and bare, like sentinels watchin’ over the St. Francis River.   The bugs arrived early, thick and hungry, circlin’ my head like it was a big juicy vein as I walked across the rocks toward the water.

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56:  He held his hand out to help me off the stump.  I took his hand and stood, holdin’ my breath, not knowin’ if I should let go or hold on.  I wanted to hold on.

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Synopsis:   Alison Tillman has called Forrest Town, Arkansas home for the past eighteen years. Her mother’s Blue Bonnet meetings, her father toiling night and day on the family farm, and the division of life between the whites and the blacks are all Alison knows. The winter of 1967, just a few months before marrying her high school sweetheart, Alison finds the body of a black man floating in the river, and she begins to view her existence with new perspective. The oppression and hate of the south, the ugliness she once was able to avert her eyes from, now demands her attention.

When a secretive friendship with a young black man takes an unexpected romantic turn, Alison is forced to choose between her predetermined future, and the dangerous path that her heart yearns for.

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What do you think?  I’ve had this book for quite a while, and as I share the excerpts and the blurb, I am now realizing once again why I bought it in the first place.  The book reminds me of a time, not that long ago, when so much was forbidden.

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REVIEW: DOLLBABY, BY LAURA LANE MCNEAL

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New Orleans in 1964 was still steeped in traditions, but all of that was about to change.

And for Liberty (Ibby) Bell, a twelve-year-old girl from Olympia, Washington, it was the time when her mother dropped her off, literally, on her grandmother’s doorstep.

A short time before, Ibby’s father Graham had died after a freak accident, and now her mother Vidrine had just told her she was here to visit her grandmother Fannie.

But all Ibby can remember about her grandmother, whom she had never met, was how much her mother hated her. So why was she leaving her there?

We follow Ibby’s sojourn in this unfamiliar Southern world, at the same time that the country is changing to accommodate the new Civil Rights Act. Sit-ins, protests, and racial tensions would be commonplace for the next few years, along with the Vietnam War. But in Fannie Bell’s household, tradition still reigns, and her home is run by her black household helpers, Queenie and Doll (also called Dollbaby), who are like a part of the family. Their delightful and warm personalities and the way they enfold Ibby as if she were one of their own made me feel right at home with them, too.

Dollbaby: A Novel is a story that wraps itself around the reader, revealing the historic moments in the life of a family that unfold much as the country’s historic moments have done. It spans almost a decade, from 1964 to 1972, but we also are gifted with moments from the past, revealing much about Fannie and the life she led before she became a mother and grandmother. Secrets, betrayals, violence, and the unconditional love that Ibby learns to accept as her due, are part of her heritage, even as her life follows a path dictated by her grandmother. Learning her grandmother’s secrets was also a gradual process, and this story made me laugh, cry, and remember how much history each family contains. Unforgettable story. 4.0 stars.

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