Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Just finished an ARC that I had and picked up after I learned it won an award at ALA. Not surprised. Quite a good story. I think what I liked best was the strength of the two main characters, 11 year olds Zora and Carrie. If you didn't realize it, it is based partly on Zora Neale Hurston's autobiography, Dust Tracks on the Road. Many of the characters seem to have been drawn from Zora's own telling. The reader can tell that Zora is headed for a future as a writer. But the novel is its own unique thing, not based on events that truly occurred. The two girls are worried that a man they had met once was killed by an alligator. The signs in Eatonville, Florida, indicate that it was more likely a hate crime. But the girls embark on their own investigation to out a man who they claim to be half alligator and half man. This leads them to a woman who pretends to be white because of her dark skin, but is the murdered black man's sister. Justice is meted out in both the black town and its neighbor full of whites, carried out fairly and in secret by men of both towns, giving the story a balanced ending. Between its strong message, characters, setting, historical enlightenment and the murder mystery, the book is indeed an ammazing accomplishment for the two first time authors who co-wrote it.