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Sources of Light Hardcover – April 12, 2010
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(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Top Customer Reviews
Well, not only did I enjoy Sources of Light, but I will be highly recommending it, and it has left me with a little bit of a let down, not knowing how I can find something next that will measure up.
Set in 1962, Jackson, Mississippi, Sam and her mother are freshly transplanted there after her father's death in Vietnam. While Sam wants to fit in, her mother, who teaches art at the local college doesn't have any intention of blending in, and garners some attention when she speaks at a black institution. Sam and her mother start to receive threatening phone calls, their mailbox is set on fire, and several other warnings are sent to them to try and reign in their desire to help the civil rights movement. Perry, another professor at the college becomes a friend of theirs (eventually dating Sam's mom), and introduces Sam to photography. With her camera from Perry Sam is able to capture Mississippi at its best - and its worst. This is something that most people in Jackson aren't willing to accept or acknowledge at this point. Perry is also someone who wants to help blacks escape the racism they experience, and while he knows it's danger, he is unable to live his life as a bystander, allowing this to go on.
Eventually Sam gives up on trying to fit in with the popular crowd, no longer caring what Mary Alice McLemore wears or what she says. Stone McLemore, Mary Alice's older brother, asks Sam to the school dance, and the two begin a romance impeded by the Klan activities of Stone's father.Read more ›
This is our introduction to fourteen year old Sam. She tries to fit in at her new school, but it isn't long before she starts to realize that things in Jackson aren't anything like what she was used to in Pittsburgh. The pervasiveness of racism is something she initially tries to ignore, but not so her mother. When Mom starts dating Perry, another instructor at the college, their shared view of the wrongness of racism, coupled with Perry's encouragement of Sam's interest in photography (he gives her an older camera and teaches her how to develop her own pictures), force her to look at her new town with more mature eyes.
Her life gets even more complicated when she starts liking Stone McLemore, older brother of the most popular girl in her freshman class. Stone's father is extremely racist and as the relationship between the two teens progresses, Stone has to look in the mirror more carefully that he might like. At the same time, Sam's mom and Perry are receiving verbal and physical threats because of their actions against racism. The book comes to a shattering climax that's extremely real.
This is an excellent example of what historical fiction can be. It's a blend of recent history, family dynamics, young romance and coming of age. While it's been out for a while, I'd still encourage school and public libraries to add it because of its quality and historical accuracy.
Samantha is 14 going on 15 and her after her dad dies in Vietnam, her mother accepts a teaching position in Mississippi. Samantha and her mom have different ideas about race, class, and segregation than the rest of Mississippi in 1962 tho and Samantha is about to find that out the hard way. After her mom goes to an African American college and gives a lecture, people begin attacking her mom in the papers, throwing stuff in their windows, and applying hateful graffiti to their front door. Samantha even witnesses the depths of southern hate right there in her local drug store while angry white men poor ketchup and drinks over the head of a young African American woman sitting at a counter. Samantha's school assignment is to do a report on the state of Mississippi and as she attempts to capture the state from behind a hand me down camera, racism and hate is all she sees.
On top of the race riots that seem to be going on right in her backyard, Samantha is also dealing with her first crush.. to a boy that may possibly be one of those angry white men. Will her personal beliefs take precedence over young love? She must also deal with a budding relationship between her mother and a young photographer.
Great novel. I only grew bored during one part. When Samantha visits her grandparents for Christmas... it really doesn't have much bearing on the rest of the tale... felt out of place. Otherwise, good tale and should be placed on children's summer reading lists this year.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
SPOILER ALERT (This review includes details about the ending). I loved the book, Sources of Light! It is set in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962 during the Civil Rights Movement. Read morePublished on August 20, 2013
This young adult novel is very interesting to an older adult who lived through the times. Very well written and poignant.Published on December 22, 2012 by Mary Lucas
I loved this book, because I love the sixties! (60's) And it's cool, too! I think you should really read this amazing book!
I ordered the hardback book Sources of Light but received a new (damaged during mailing due to flimsy envelop) paperback marked - not for resale - editors copy. Read morePublished on July 3, 2012 by WendyC.
Sam is a good kid and when she and her mom move to Jackson - close to where her dad grew up - she tries hard to fit in with the "popular crowd". Read morePublished on March 22, 2012 by Star