- Paperback: 308 pages
- Publisher: SpeculativeFictionReview.com (April 9, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780978523268
- ISBN-13: 978-0978523268
- ASIN: 0978523261
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 36 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,433,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Arkansas Summer Paperback – April 9, 2017
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"As literature, Arkansas Summer is a page-turner. It is thoroughly engaging and suspenseful, a convincing immersion into a dark, hate-twisted place and a time that, while decades in the past, still casts a shadow on today. As a moral statement, it is a powerful indictment of racism and its soul-crushing effects. It is impossible to read this book and not be profoundly moved." -- Malcolm Margolin, award-winning pblisher and author of The Ohlone Way and The Way We Lived
In this gripping novel of romance and social consciousness, a white California teenager encounters the effects of racial prejudice in the segregated South of the 1950s.
In 1986 Los Angeles, Hannah Ross is devastated by the death of her father, but her world is turned upside down when her mother, Catherine, decides to share some long-buried family history. Most of the novel that follows takes place in the summer of 1955, as Catherine, a teenage college student, accompanies her father, Ben, to his childhood home in Arkansas to help her recently widowed grandmother, Mama Rae. Ben hasn’t visited the South in more than a decade, largely due to a desire to protect his children from their grandfather’s racist attitudes. The casual cruelty of whites in the Jim Crow South comes as a shock to Catherine, and she soon draws attention for her refusal to participate in it. She also finds herself irresistibly drawn to Jimmy Emerson, the college-aged African-American son of her grandmother’s housekeeper, Sally; he’d been her playmate during past childhood visits to her grandparents’ farm. Despite Ben’s, Mama Rae’s, and Sally’s warnings, they pursue their youthful attraction, and the life-shattering consequences will have repercussions for generations. Moose (Berkeley U.S.A., 1981, etc.) is a compelling storyteller, and this one unfolds with page-turning urgency as she paints a convincingly chilling portrait of white supremacy in a small Southern town. However, some of the characters here seem a bit too good to be true, while others are mere caricatures of evil, so readers looking for a more nuanced cultural study may be disappointed. Even so, readers will genuinely care about Catherine, Jimmy, and their families; the transformation of Mama Rae after her husband’s death is a delight, and the ending is satisfying without tying up its loose ends too neatly. A thoughtful “Author’s Note” with suggested reading about the Jim Crow South follows the text.
An often powerful novel about courage and integrity in the face of hate.
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I highly recommend Arkansas Summer, and I hope that Anne Moose will continue to write and publish about the topics of discrimination, family, and community dynamics. I will be one of the first to purchase her books. I give 4.5 stars to this Arkansas Summer and encourage you to read it and share with friends.
This story combines most situations that you could imagine happening, in the blinding of friends and races, in Arkansas in the early 1950's. The KKK was busy in this fictional town and had their way of "fixing" problems that arose. The public was brain washed and filled with fear; never daring to interfer with the actions. If you are interested in the realities of this time in history this book needs to be in your library. You might say it is a love story of a different kind.
Arkansas Summer was a thoroughly enjoyable read, the pace is non-stop and very difficult to put down. There are times when the suspense is high enough that you’re almost afraid to find out what’s going to happen next. The book is set in the 80’s but most of the story is a flashback to the 50s, and if you’re young enough to not have personal memories of this unpleasant time in our nation’s history, you’ll get an excellent glimpse of what life was like for the victims of prejudice.