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Monday, March 9, 2015

Review: Your Blues Ain't Like Mine

Your Blues Ain't Like Mine
Author: Bebe Moore Campbell
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher:  Ballantine Books
Release Date: August 10, 1993
Paperback: 433 pages
Source: Purchased from Amazon

Book Description

Chicago-born Amrstrong Tood is fifteen, black, and unused to the ways of the segregated Deep South, when his mother sends him to spend the summer with relatives in rural Mississippi. For speaking a few innocuous words in French to a white woman, Armstrong is killed. And the precariously balanced world and its determined people--white and black--are changed, then and forever, by the horror of poverty, the legacy of justice, and the singular gift of love's power to heal.


This book was a Mocha Girls Read book club book of the month for the month of February.  Our theme was Fictional Black History and this book delivered in so many ways.  
Armstrong was a young Black city kid dropped into the South to stay with his Grandma when he is killed for speaking French indirectly to a White woman.  No I didn't spoil it for you, that's where the story starts.  The book then goes into decades of showing the reader the effects of his death in the community both in Hopewell and Chicago, with his family and friends, as well as the family of the killer.
The story is more or less a fictionalized version of Emmett Till's death, a 14 year old who was killed in 1955 for whistling at a White woman. 
This book brought up so many different topics besides racism and all of it's ugliness, like domestic abuse, institutionalized poverty, injustice and countless others.  
The one thing that stood out to me was the anniversary of Armstrong's death.  Every 5 or so years churches and community organizations remember the passing of Armstrong and the presence of his mother and other family members are requested.  I really never thought about it until now, but how could you heal and stop mourning when the community is pulling the scape off your wound every 5 years?  The lost of a child is never something you can get over but what about healing?  Armstrong's mom never stopped mourning her son even when she had two daughters and a son who she made live in his dead brother's shadow.  
Bebe Moore Campbell is a wonderful storyteller.  She brings the situations close to home and she makes you flip page after page.  I found it hard to put it down because it is still happening now.  #Blacklivesmatter  I loved the ending and how things where mending.  Reading a book that has so many characters with diverse backgrounds and ways of thinking can be a bit tricky keeping them true to themselves and letting them each grow but Bebe did it and did it well.  This is another book that should be on the high school required reading list.  Excellent historical fiction that rings true even now. 

Reviews by Other Bloggers


I recommend this book to older teens due to the sex, violence and graphic language at times. 


This book is number 3 in my Diversity on the Shelf Reading Challenge
This book is number 2 in my What's in a Name? Reading Challenge
This book is number 7 in my Goodreads Reading Challenge 
This book is a Mocha Girls Read book of the Month

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