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The Air Between Us [Kindle Edition]

Deborah Johnson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Revere, Mississippi, with its population of "20,000 and sinking" is not unlike most Southern towns in the sixties. Black people live on one side of town and whites live on the other. The two rarely mix, or so everyone believes. But the truth is brought to the forefront when Billy Ray Puckett, a white man wounded while hunting, shows up at the segregated Doctors Hospital. No one thinks much of his death—just a typical hunting accident—until the sheriff orders an investigation.

Suddenly the connections between whites and blacks are revealed to be deeper than anyone expected, which makes the town's struggle with integration that much more complicated. Dr. Cooper Connelly, who hails from a prominent white family, takes an unexpectedly progressive view toward school integration; while the esteemed Dr. Reese Jackson, so prominent he has garnered an Ebony profile, tries to stay above the fray. With fully realized characters and a mystery that will keep readers turning pages until the end, The Air Between Us is a heart-filled, endearing tale.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Johnson's vivid debut, Revere, Miss., is a 1966 small town teetering on the brink of integration. Willie B. Tate Jr., a 10-year-old black boy known as Critter, drives poor white man Billy Ray Puckett to the whites-only emergency room after Billy Ray has a hunting accident. Caught up in the middle of the fallout after Billy Ray's unexpected death is Dr. Cooper Connelly, a prominent white doctor who serves on the school board and has controversial prointegration views. Cooper is a man with secrets, including why he keeps company with Madame Melba Obrensky, a raceless woman with a mysterious past who manages to keep herself well-apprised of all sides of the town's doings. Melba happens to be the next-door neighbor of Dr. Reese Jackson, a respected black physician who has managed to cross the race barrier and establish his practice on Main Street. As the heat of the school board meetings about integration and of the investigation into Billy Ray's death increase, the atmosphere becomes explosive. Johnson tries to squeeze too much out of the limited plot, but compelling character studies keep pages turning.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Deborah Johnson now lives and works in Columbus, Mississippi, after residing for many years in Italy.

Product Details

  • File Size: 375 KB
  • Print Length: 338 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0061255580
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (October 13, 2009)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0012095B2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,572 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something Is In The Air July 3, 2008
Deborah Johnson, also known as Deborah Johns, presents a fascinating tale of two doctors, one black and one white in her novel, The Air Between Us. The town of Revere, Mississippi is home to two well-respected doctors: Dr. Cooper Connelly, a white man from a rags-to-riches family, and Dr. Reese Jackson, a black man who managed to maneuver his way through the racist ways of the south and become a doctor. The two men mirror each other in many ways: beautiful wives, gorgeous homes with all the trimmings and respected careers, yet the racial politics of their southern town in the 1960s causes a great divide that keeps them and their respective neighborhoods worlds apart. When a white man is injured as a result of what appears to be a simple accident, the town soon stirs with questions and accusations that will forever change its residents.

Johnson weaves an intricate story filled with flawed, but likable, characters that struggle with personal demons and the changes brought forth by integration. Although the book gets off to a rather slow start, readers will be compelled to turn each page in order to find out how the doctors and the town manage through these issues. The Air Between Us is a great read for those interested in a story about people who are not wholly good nor evil, but just trying to survive and live the best life they can for themselves and their children.

Reviewed by M. P. McKinney
APOOO BookClub
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Slow moving plot, uneventful climax May 19, 2010
I read a lot of books, but I could have passed on this one. It took me a good 75-80 pages to even start getting really into the plot of this one, and towards the end when you think it's about to get really good, it falls flat. The build up to the "secrets" is way greater than the actual secrets. I feel that all the "secrets" kept through out the story were explained way too briefly and it seems like the last chapter was rushed to sum up the novel.

I gave it 2 stars because I did enjoy reading about what life was like in 1960s Mississippi since I grew up in MS, but there was no real entertainment value in my opinion.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Flat, cliched look at Civil Rights era Mississippi March 13, 2011
This book is an Oprah Book Club wannabe. It takes a "big" topic: race. It's full of strong women. It has educated African Americans. It has a happy ending. Sure sounds like Oprah material to me.

But this book is a weak imitation of powerful books with the same characteristics. It starts out well enough, with a dramatic scene in which a 10-year Negro boy (term used in the book) drives a white man who's been shot to the hospital, but the boy is refused entrance for the man at the Negro entrance, and the boy is refused entrance at the Whites entrance. It's a jarring entry to a world that has been demolished today.

But after those initial 10-20 pages, the book's progression is awkward, and many of its characters are as real as wood. The Negro surgeon is too good to be true -- great doctor, doting husband, pillar of the community in every way, etc. The white surgeon is a drunk, locked in a loveless marriage with a beautiful, but cold, woman. The town's fortune-teller, a former New Orleans prostitute, dispenses thoughtful psychology to all visitors. The city detective is especially weak. He seems to detect every lie spoken by every person, though he doesn't actually follow up on those lies, and he seems able to take in the contents of an entire room (and the yard he can see out the room's window) in a half-second glance. Moreover, the detective makes his appearance, starts challenging the official version of events, and then vanishes.

The thing I liked best about the book was the evocation of what it was like to sit on a porch, just talking with a neighbor. This is what one of the key characters, Miss Melba, does. It's where news is shared and secrets are revealed. I like it because so few of us take the time to do that today ...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Johnson Deals With Our Common Ground In The Air Between Us September 11, 2010
At a time when there iare discusions about the many things that separate us, it is good to find a book that you can read and reflect on that showcase just how many things unite us. With THE AIR BETWEEN US Author Deborah Johnson has succeeded in creating a cast of characters and a theme that resonates with readers and allows them to evaluate their own feelings about our lives, the people in,and what we really know about those around us.

The importance and the ability to change is also a message that the author brings home, even if that change is a long time in coming.

THE AIR BETWEEN US is definitely is a great way to think about how others might view us and why, and then see what we can do to make things better between us all.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read! May 16, 2009
I found this book remarkably easy to read. Not easy like See Spot run. But easy like lying in a hammock or sitting in a hot bath or eating homemade cookies. It was funny, warm & generous, filled with characters I wanted to hang out with forever.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Hole Opens Eyes, Hearts, and Minds August 23, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What an outstanding debut novel! This is a must read!!

Unlike most stories from the Delta during the Civil Rights Era, THE AIR BETWEEN US flows with colorful characters (black & white), exciting twists and dark secrets that unravel a mesmirizing tale. When a single gunshot blows a hole in Billy Ray Puckett, it also opens up the segregated town of Revere, Mississippi.

The folks of Macon, Revere and surrounding areas have accepted segregation for years. They don't want change! Even with talk of integration on the outskirts of their haven, Critter, Skippy, Janet, Ned Hampton, Dr. & Mrs. Cooper Connelly (the prominent white physician) and Dr. & Mrs. Reese Jackson (the respected black surgeon), continue life and business as usual. Add to the mix... Madame Melba Obrenski, the 'chameleon' who hangs out her sign, "Genuine Creole Card Reader". These characters have stories to tell...

Deborah Johnson proves to be a credulous storyteller giving readers a uniquely, aromatic whiff of the thin air between racial barriers, friendship, and love. From the opening pages to the final ones, THE AIR BETWEEN US arrests your attention with well-developed characters and impressionable, vivid images.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery, love with lots of twist and turns
Excellent book, hard to put down. Part mystery in the midst of civil rights movement in South. Ultimately a story of friendship and love.
Published 28 days ago by June Hatcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I really enjoyed this book!
Published 1 month ago by Elizabeth B.
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
The book was full of real people. It kept me turning pages. I would definitely recommend this book to others.
Published 7 months ago by Ruth McCarty
5.0 out of 5 stars Very pleased with this book
This book arrived within two days and it is in great shape. Exactly what I was looking for when I purchased this book.
Published 13 months ago by Amber LaSource
5.0 out of 5 stars The Air Between Us
A beautifully told story, with that sweet cadence that you get sometimes from Southern authors. It kind a story that reflects all of the nuances of the reality of race relations... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Kate
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring
The first chapter of this book is really good, and I had high expectations for the rest of it. It soon became boring and stayed boring. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Dixiesummer
4.0 out of 5 stars Race Relations in the South
My Book Club of 15 ladies just read this book. I enjoyed it and never got bored. Since I grew up in the South I remember some of the things mentioned in this book. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Debbie Byrd
4.0 out of 5 stars The Air Between Us
This book explores the relationship between and among black and white people in a small town community. It explores the complexities and undercurrents of this society. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Charlea Baker
5.0 out of 5 stars In a Word...Fascinating!
Deborah Johnson did an excellent job writing a story about one of the darkest and most shameful periods in American history. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Mo
4.0 out of 5 stars "Folks do everything out of their own thinking, the force of their...
I liked a great deal about this book. For me the characters were exceptional in their realism and complexity. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Amelia Gremelspacher
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