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on August 27, 1999
My mother read this book and recommended that I read it too. At the time I was not a person that read for pleasure... so when the monster Five Smooth Stones was plopped onto my table, you can imagine my response! For some reason I picked it up, started reading, and could not put it down until I was done! I had to have my own copy because it meant so much to me, not just because I actually finished it, but because David became a member of my family! I cried at his graduations like I was his mother and ached for his trials and suffering! I morned the loss of this book when I completed it. The book was out of print at the time, but found a copy at a rare book shop. I am thrilled that it is in reprint and available! It should be a must read for high schoolers, college students, all human kind. Because of this book, I now read like a crazy woman. And I agree, this should be a movie for all to see and to encourage all to read!
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on August 31, 2002
In the midst of my first re-reading of this novel all I can say is that it should be in print and should be one of the top choices for reading groups everywhere!
I read this book over 30 years ago the summer before I went to college..and remembering how captivated I was by it then I sought it out on a whim and found it at the library. 32 years later it still captured my heart and most of my free time from the first page. I think this book is even more significant now When it was written the Civil Rights movement was news, now it is history. History is documented by chronological events, news impacts our day to day lives. In this book we relive the civil rights movement, and the era that preceded it through the eyes and experiences of an incredibly engaging group of characters. There are now generations who did not experience the dehumanization, indignity and brutatlity of institutionalized racism. This book shows how it affects the lives of human beings both Caucasian and African American. And you don't even know you are learning something because you are so swept away by the story. I also feel that her characters observations and experiences of racism, both overt and covert can lead a reader to face down any pockets of racism they may be unknowingly carrying and grow beyond them. This is the blessing the best fiction leads you in emotionally rather than getting in your face with cold facts and figures..and this is where the healing can begin. And although the trappings of progress may be in place we still have a lot of work to do in this area.
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on January 10, 1998
I read this book for a high school English assignment; it was the most enjoyable homework I have ever had! It has been a long time since characters in a book have had the kind of impact on me that those in FIVE SMOOTH STONES did. Ann Fairbairn does a magnificent job of inviting the reader into the people's lives to experience the hatred, bewilderment, or passion they each feel. Many times I wanted to jump in and yell, "It's not fair," whenever David, a lawyer from the south who fights for his people's rights, gets into trouble or others pick on him because he is black. A boy growing up in New Orleans during the depression, David faces the challenges of attending a school in the north with whites, fighting for equality, and maintaining a long-lasting love with a white girl. It is really saying something about a book when the author creates such a believable, true-to-life story and evokes such heart-rending emotion from the readers that they are appalled and stricken at the end! THIS IS A MUST READ FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT!!
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The reading of this book in my early teens very drastically affected my outlook on life, love, and the horrible inflation of the miniscule differences between people of differing color. Our hopes, fears, and dreams are all the same. Ann Fairbairn whose real name was Dorothy Tate died on Feb.8, 1972 of a heart attack. She was 70 years old at the time of her death. Other than "Five Smooth Stones" and "That Man Cartwright" she also wrote "Call Him George" published first in London then in the US in 1969. This novel is a biography of New Orleans clarinetist George Lewis. Dorothy Tait was born in Cambridge, Mass. but spent many years in the deep South. Later she was a reporter and editor in print, radio, and TV in California. (she died in Monterey CA). For many years she managed the bookings of George Lewis and his band. Miss Tait was working on her third novel for Crown Publishers at the time of her death in '72.
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on November 8, 2007
This is one of those stories that will stick with me for a lifetime. Lengthy and at times a bit wordy but every bit of material draws a complete picture of the people and times. I do believe that this is one of the truly great books I have EVER read. This book was loaned to me first and I had to buy a copy for a friend in another state so he could share in this also. She, the author, has such a feel for the subject matter. Myself, being southern of about the same age as the lead character, only not of the same race, I can identify with so many levels of the story. I feel this is a must read book.
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on September 23, 2003
I picked this book up not sure of how I would enjoy it. At first I was a bit offended by the racial slurs towards the whites but as I explored the book further I was appalled at the bigotry of (especially) the southern whites. I never realized the deep chasm between our cultures and my heart cried as I read the plight of the black people only trying to get HUMAN rights in this country. This is one of the most well written books I have read and it has given me an insight into the black community that I would otherwise never have seen nor learned. This should be a must-read for our young people.
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on August 16, 1999
I just finished my first reading of Five Smooth Stones and I feel emotionally tired. The author drew me in from the first pages and created characters that became friends. I have never understood the civil rights movement and all of the struggles the way I do after reading this book. I feel weary, but changed after coming to know these wonderful, brave people. Thank you, Ann Fairbairn/Dorothy Tait.
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on August 27, 2001
Last night I finished reading this tremendous novel. I recently found it on my mother's bookshelf, and began reading it prior to her passing...I finished after she passed away. Reading this book has helped me to understand better what motivated her--and subsequently, the values upon which I was raised. I found particularly intruiging (but I do not at this time fully understand why) the fact that this novel was published in 1966...and Dr. King was murdered in 1968. This is a powerful work and is a 'must read', especially for black youth. It is also a 'must read' for opponents of reparations to black americans for slavery in america. Through this work, perhaps these opponents can come to some understanding of the legacy that slavery leaves, and still lingers on black americans. Probably, this is too much too hope for. THANK YOU ANN FAIRBAIN!
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on August 12, 2000
I read this book years ago when I was in my twenties. I thought that it was the most cohesive book I had ever read about Civil Rights. What a wonderful story! And factual...I found out a few years ago that Ann Fairbairn had died in Monterey California. What a loss! I have also read her book "That Man Cartwright" Another winner if you can find it. Thanks to Amazon I was able to get a copy. I have read it many times. Not as many as "Five Smooth Stones". Both books are very enlightening. Her biography of George Lewis, "Call Him George" was extremely well written and a great story. I will always keep these books and read them over and over, just to remind me of what people are capable of (both bad and good).
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on September 23, 1999
I first read Five Smooth Stones shortly after it was first published. Several years passed and I decided to reread the book. It didn't disappoint me and if anything I enjoyed it more. Now I would like to read it again and would highly recommend this book to anyone.
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