My Little Pocketbooks: Review: Zora and Me   

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Review: Zora and Me

Zora and Me
Author: Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon
Genre: Children's Book
Age Range: 10 and up
Publisher: Candlewick
Release Date: New edition for 2014 World Book Night
Paperback: 192 pages
Source: From World Book Night

Book Description

Winner of the 2011 John Steptoe New Talent (Author) Award!

Racial duplicity threatens an idyllic African American community in the turn-of-the-century South in a dazzling debut inspired by the early life of Zora Neale Hurston.

Whether she’s telling the truth or stretching it, Zora Neale Hurston is a riveting storyteller. Her latest creation is a shape-shifting gator man who lurks in the marshes, waiting to steal human souls. But when boastful Sonny Wrapped loses a wrestling match with an elusive alligator named Ghost — and a man is found murdered by the railroad tracks soon after — young Zora’s tales of a mythical evil creature take on an ominous and far more complicated complexion, jeopardizing the peace and security of an entire town and forcing three children to come to terms with the dual-edged power of pretending. Zora’s best friend, Carrie, narrates this coming-of-age story set in the Eden-like town of Eatonville, Florida, where justice isn’t merely an exercise in retribution, but a testimony to the power of community, love, and pride. A fictionalization of the early years of a literary giant, this astonishing novel is the first project ever to be endorsed by the Zora Neale Hurston Trust that was not authored by Hurston herself.


This year I was honored along with the women in my book club to pass out books on World Book Night.  This was my first time and I had a blast.  There were several titles in the many boxes we received this year and Zora and Me was one of them.  Since there were a few left I kept this copy for me.
The story is inspired by the childhood of the famous author Zora Neale Hurston in her hometown of Eatonville, Florida.  Zora's best friend Carrie tells the tales of their adventures, stories and the towns people they meet along the way.  Zora has the gift of story telling so much so that Carrie and the others believe every word of it.  And so does Zora.
I have been reading chapters here and there of Wrapped in Rainbows, a thick biography about Zora Neale Hurston so I had a bit of knowledge of her before reading.  This book is wonderful in the story telling aspect and it could have really taken place in Zora's life to some degree.  The biography mentioned on several accounts her ability to come up with, create and tell wild and imaginative stories.  
The only thing I have negative to say about this book is the violence.  I am extremely pro non-violence in children books so when the headless body of a friend of theirs is found on the railroad tracks, I was shocked and not in a good way.  I thought I was reading a kid's book.  Why are we finding murder victims in the book?  I understand how it fits in the story but... I don't know what to say.  I was just shocked and I would have loved to not have that in the book at all.  
There is another very small violent scene in the book between Zora and her father when he goes to slap her for "thinking she was White".  I have read passages about Zora's father and his mean temper.  This scene in the book fits his personality but why does it have to be in a Children's book.  Why?  He could have just stormed out of the room and left her sitting there at the table.  
I think that is the only issues I have with the book and the only reason I took away one star.  
Parents heads up.  It's a good book but please be aware of the violence in the book.      

Reviews by Other Bloggers

The Literate Mother
You've Gotta Read This!


I recommend this book to young readers around the age of 11 or 12 years old due to the chapters about murder.


This book is number 16 in my Diversity on the Shelf Reading Challenge
This book is number 13 in my Off the shelf Reading Challenge
This book is number 11 in my Rewind Reading Challenge
This book is number 42 in my Goodreads Reading Challenge 
This is the letter Z in my Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge 

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