I chose Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor as one of my 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge books. This book is also #66 on the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009.
I chose this book because of its controversy. It is one of the books I've wanted to read for awhile and just never got around to.
ISBN #: 07678300295
Page Count: 210
Copyright: March 1978
Publisher: Bantam Books
(Taken from back cover)
This is a story of physical survival, but more important, it is a story of the survival of the human spirit. This is Cassie's story - Cassie Logan, a girl raised by a family determined not to surrender their independence or their humanity simply because they are black. Cassie has grown up protected, strong, and so far, unaware that any white person could consider her inferior - or force her to be untrue to herself. It takes the events of one turbulent year to turn her safe world upside down.
I must say that Mildred D. Taylor knows how to make a story come to life. I felt like I got to know the Logan family ... and I liked them.
The story is set in pre-Civil Rights Mississippi so there's still hangings, race separations, white people thinking they're the better and superior race, etc. When I first began to read the book, I wondered where the story was going; wondered what the point of the book was going to be.
What I understood it to be was a brief glimpse in the difficult lives of a "colored" family living in Mississippi. The book was designed to allow the reader to see the other side of the story. Yes, the book is fiction, but it could easily have been a real family set in any part of the South during that time period. My heart went out to them.
Cassie got on my nerves. The girl was 12 and was still naive about how "things" were. Then she'd pop off at the mouth to white folks because she couldn't control her anger. Now, I'm not saying she wasn't right, because she was. She got on my nerves because she didn't realize the danger she was putting herself and her family in. I wanted to snatch her up myself and tell her to sit her ass down somewhere and hush!
Stacy was the oldest of the four Logan children. I liked him because he wasn't old enough to be a man physically, but mentally he was mature enough to try and act like one when his mama needed him. Their father worked in Louisiana most of the year with the railroad, so Stacy was the man of the house a lot of the time.
Christoper-John was the third child. He was almost forgettable as a character. I think Mildred could've almost left him out.
Little Man was the youngest of the four Logan children and could not stand to get dirty ... makes me wonder a little about him. Again, another character that wasn't necessarily needed to get the story told, but having him and Christopher-John in the story did help some of the dialogue along.
I am a huge advocate for Civil Rights and racial equality, so this book resonated within me very strongly. It was well-written, relatable, believable and, based upon the time it was first published, a novel that angered many people with its words. I loved it.