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The King of Colored Town [Kindle Edition]

Darryl Wimberley
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

There are good people and bad on both sides of the tracks that divide Laureate from 'Colored Town'. Our instruction in that hard truth comes as we follow two African-American teens, Cilla Handsom and Joe Billy King, as they endure the backlash resulting from the integration of their segregated school with the all-white school run by Lafayette County's all-white school board. The issue of the education of Laureate's children will expose hatreds on both sides of the color divide. Cilla will emerge from her ordeal carrying scars and grace to become a widely traveled classical musician. Joe Billy will be found hanging from the bars of his cell in a Florida penitentiary. Their moving, intertwined dramas put courage, cowardice, loyalty and betrayal side by side in an eloquent, evocative narrative where the demons and angels of a time and place are portrayed in black and white.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wimberley revisits the rural north Florida featured in A Tinker's Damn (2000) in this powerful portrayal of a segregated community at the height of the Civil Rights movement. In 1963 Cilla Handsom, a high school junior living in Laureate's "Colored Town," learns that her senior year will be spent at an integrated white school on the other end of town, where fear and racist fury permeate the halls. A brash charmer named Joe Billy King blows into town after robbing a church in Tallahassee and becomes Cilla's first lover. He discovers Cilla's gift for music and enlists the help of a teacher to secure Cilla access to music lessons and instruments. Cilla focuses on her music and her studies, but she and Joe Billy attract the attention of the Klan and are brutally assaulted. In the aftermath, Joe Billy sacrifices himself to protect Cilla. Though the tension lags after Cilla leaves Colored Town, Wimberley's take on the prickly themes of racism and poverty is made memorable by a gripping story line, authentic voice and dead-on dialogue. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Wimberley paints complex characters against a backdrop of brutally violent racial oppression...[through]truly heartfelt storytelling. -- Kirkus *** Starred Review *** 1 January 2007

Wimberley's (Dead Man's Bay) surprisingly affecting novel ... reveals an authentic glimpse of a moment in history. Recommended. -- Library Journal, Feb 15th 2007

Product Details

  • File Size: 567 KB
  • Print Length: 367 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1612181252
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (August 4, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005AZIPI4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,677 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Absolute Page-Turner! April 21, 2007
Darryl Wimberley's newest book was a rarity--a chance for one to live a life completely out of one's own experience. The narrative, told in the voice of an African-American woman coming of age in the segregated South of the early 1960's, is completely believeable. The theme, of the risks and rewards of following one's dream, no matter what the sacrifice, hardly allows for such distractions to the reader as work, meals, or sleep until the entire story has been told and savored. If you have not yet discovered Darryl Wimberley's fiction, this is an excellent start. If you have read his other works, you will appreciate how his gift has deepened since his first published work.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragedy and Triumph May 11, 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I pre-ordered The King of Colored Town by Darryl Wimberley back in January after a friend passed me a two-line, positive blurb about the book. By the time it arrived, I did not have any more insight about the author or the story, so I cracked the cover hoping not to be disappointed. This book turned out to be a true literary delight and one of my favorites so far for 2007!

The reader is transported to 1963 in the racially-charged Florida Panhandle region amid the Civil Rights movement. A teenaged dreamer, Joe Billy King, finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and is implicated in a church bombing. He flees Tallahassee to the backwoods of Laureate, FL where he meets Cilla Handsom. Opposites attract and the charms of Joe Billy, an outspoken, city boy, attract Cilla, the shy, bashful country girl who is struggling with a mentally ill mother and living in overt poverty. Their love affair is strained by the inevitable limitations of deep-rooted racism and local "good ole boy" politics.

It is ultimately crushed in a brutal and savage act of cowardice and betrayal. A man is killed, a trial ensues, secrets are revealed, and their paths diverge forever. Cilla escapes and becomes a classically trained musician while Joe Billy languishes in a penitentiary for the rest of his life.

To reveal more would ruin the plot; but I will say there is much, much more to the story than what I summarized here! I found myself immersed from the beginning and it appealed to me on many levels. One being that it was centered in a region of Florida that I am intimately familiar; I actually have (distant) relatives in the same geographical area. Another is that the novel's historical fiction aspects were rooted in realism.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent spellbinding story March 30, 2007
An absolutely great page turner. Kept me glued to the pages and I was sorry to get to the end. Wimberley knows how to keep the reader interested in the characters that he develops and the story he weaves. Great reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great story about sacrafice...... February 23, 2012
By Renee
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Overall, this was a good read. I enjoyed the story but it did take a little while to get going. To me there was a lot of unnecessary info and elaborations but that didn't exactly take away from the storyline. Definitely an eye-opener as to how things were back then. While some events in the story made me angry and sad, it was a great story about sacrafice, love, tragedy, and success. The reason for 4 stars would be because I wasn't thrilled with the ending or blown away with the story. Even though the storyline is very different, it reminded me a lot of the movie The Help. I honestly think this book would make a great movie. The movie would be much more enjoyable in this case. Some reads just need to be brought to life and this is one of them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars captivating and thought provoking January 5, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The writer does a remarkable job channeling a believable character
from a tumultuous time in our nation's history. The story reminds each of us that we are all part of the solution or part of the problem in our quest to create a society
free from bigotry and racism. I highly recommend this book if only for the great story and terrific characters alone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Will make you cry, cringe and celebrate December 21, 2011
By KatheK
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Coming from a place of white privilege and the same age as the protagonist, I squirmed and rejoiced, cried and cringed in empathy with Cilla. This is a powerful book! It is difficult to read many parts of it, and it left me feeling very silly complaining about my dysfunctional family of origen...I have no doubt that there are women who suffered and survived a hellish existence to eventually overcome and vanquish some of their devils just like Cilla. I highly recommend this book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Strange and disturbing October 26, 2013
By Diva
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This will contain EXTREME SPOILERS so do not read any further if you actually want to be surprised.......
while I did find the language and details of the time period interesting and the lead characters musical genius refreshing I kept waiting for there to be a point to this and when it came it was just sad, hollow and frankly disgusting.
My Likes:
1. Watching the lead female become a true artist and composer and how she was so raw and organic with her love for the composition.
2. The gritty truth in the time period and sad details of the differences between those with wealth and those without.
My DisLikes:
1. I hate when a book starts at the end and you have no idea what the characters are talking about. I realize now Cilla is presiding over her brother Joe Billy's funeral preparations but the details of this drawn out exchange would have meant a lot more at the end. after I read it I went back to the first chapter and re-read and it had so much depth and underlying meaning I feel the editors should have noticed its misplacement.
2. While reading and hoping something interesting will actually happen besides the everyday life of post-slavery the only interesting plot enters when we meet Joe Billy and see how Cilla is drawn to him. You hope maybe they fall in love and change each others lives and then one horrible thing after another happens culminating in the discovery that the lovers who you mourn for are actually twins, brother and sister and you feel just as wrong as they must feel for yearning for their love to blossom

I was enraged by the brutal attack on them by the Klan and scared for her when I thought she could not play music again after they slashed her lips. But after the attack this book totally lost me. Cilla is weak and sad.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The king of colored town
Excellent book. I enjoyed reading every word..although some were tough. It is very well written. The author did a great job.
Published 2 months ago by Danelle Stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!
"Colored Town" is a vivid flashback to what it was like to be poor, "colored" and too smart in the Southern, pre-civil rights, small town United States... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jax
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I enjoyed the characters and plot.
Published 8 months ago by Michael Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars recommended to several people
Very memorable book, recommended to several people.
Published 8 months ago by Joyce Kucera
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Absorbing!
This was an amazing read. It was very chilling in places but very moving as well. Definitely worth a read!
Published 11 months ago by S. Han
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good Read
Interesting read, very interesting. Th character development in a Jim Crow town and and the interactions of the people are richly detailed.
Published 11 months ago by Snobbybrokechic
3.0 out of 5 stars No hook
I gave up on this one, something I rarely do. The characters were interesting enough and the action is even set in my hometown, but nothing seemed to happen. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Donna S. Meredith
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!
I enjoyed this book very much. It is well written with wonderfully complex characters. I hate that I only borrowed the book via Amazon Prime, because I will want to read it again. Read more
Published 12 months ago by PJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Please read!
Beautifully written . Disturbing, intelligent,
I could not put it down! When I finished I went on line & purchased another book by the same author.
Published 12 months ago by Mount Laurel Mom
3.0 out of 5 stars Something missing here
I have mixed feelings about this one. The story was so raw and selfish. You wish for the happy ending where everyone does the right thing and you don't get it. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
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