Sunday, May 22, 2011

Zora and Me by Victoria Bond & T. R. Simon

zoraThe jacket flap doesn’t do this book justice. I was expecting some far-fetched story about shape-shifting alligator men, but instead found a beautifully-written coming-of-age story about 2 young black girls growing up in the south around the turn of the century. It’s a little confusing unless you already know when Zora Neale Hurston lived, so I suggest you read the biography at the end of the book first. There’s also a timeline of her life. What a great beginning, too: “It’s funny how you can be in a story but not realize until the end that you were in one.” This story starts with the death of a young black man who thinks he can wrestle an alligator. Zora and Carrie witness the terrible event, and Zora comes out with a story a few days later of seeing a man turn into an alligator. Zora is a natural born storyteller, and whether her stories contain a grain of truth or not, she captivates her audiences. This particular story leads to some almost dire consequences when Zora insists that a local recluse is the half-man, half-gator. There’s another murder, and plenty of action (Carrie almost falls to her death over the side of Blue Sink, the same swimming hole where the first death took place), besides some really terrific writing. I enjoyed everything about this book. Review by Stacy Church

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