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Based on her diaries and on her English teacher mother's copious notes and newspaper clippings, this memoir comes on challenging, hard-hitting, and with a human warmth that you just hunger for. Melba is the perfect personification for the huge challenge of Central High's integration--not that the other individuals aren't worthwhile, but there's just such a strength within her innocence, such love and gentleness within her steely resilience, it's just overwhelming at times. She was a young girl; she was a soldier. And she always questioned segregation and second-class citizenship: Why isn't ever our turn? She was perfect for the challenges she later faced (challenges that would've, quite honestly, broken me).
Right away, from the time the law has changed, Melba is thrust into the world of adults with big ideas--those that further grand designs, and those that further threats of violence. And right away, the violence, at least turns real.
This memoir is chock full of the politics, the violence of the time, but it's also full of the freshness of the heart, of a girl who just wants to be her age and go to a pajama party (but who isn't invited due to fears it might be targeted for violence if she went), of a girl whose grandmother hammers in a painting and she frantically wakes up, dreaming that she's been shot.
And you know, it's bad enough the violence children inflict up each other, but it's drop-dead horrific the twisted hatred adults will bear towards the innocent. This memoir has anger, blood, and fire. But it has friendship, loyalty, and faith too.
Most of all, it has Melba--somebody so profoundly human, yet so courageous it's astounding.
And by the way? The performance of Lisa Renee Pitts is extraordinary! She captures hope, hatred, conveys suspense, dread, and love. Really, this is a great, great book. Well worth your credit, and to say it's worth your time? Hell, it'll change the way you look at life...
5 of 7 people found this review helpful
This book was required for summer reading for my daughter. I'm so glad I got the chance to listen through audible. My daughter and I talked about courage and the importance of developing that quality. Melba and the other eight certainly displayed that quality!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful