Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Liberation of Gabriel King by K. L. Going

The opening scene of the book takes place on fourth grade graduation day when, instead of walking across the stage to get his certificate while his parents watch proudly, Gabe is tied up under a picnic table by two fifth grade bullies. Gabe decides that he doesn't want to move up to fifth grade because then he'll have the same lunch and recess as the two worst bullies of the school,who are a grade ahead of him. This is a story of two best friends, one white and one black (the only black student in the school), set in rural Georgia in 1976. Frita decides that they have to spend the summer liberating themselves of their fears (Gabe has many many more than she does), and they write out lists of what they're afraid of so they can cross each one off as they conquer it. It's not so bad when the fear is spiders - Gabe gains a pet he names Jimmy - but when they get to Frita's fear of the Ku Klux Klan, things get more intense. This is a fun book to read, even though it paints a very real picture of life for a black family in the rural south in that time period. Review by Stacy Church

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