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February is Black History Month. I usually attempt to read a book about black history or read a book written by a black author or both. This year I decided to read a novel I read back in 1971 when the book first came out. Since then the book has become a classic. A movie was made in 1974 starring Cicely Tyson. I sort of remember the movie was good. I think I shall check to see if Amazon has the movie and will watch it after I finish the book.
The book is fiction but is written in the style of oral history. The author’s brilliantly crafted book interweaves historical references and recollections into an overall framework of the life of a woman born into slavery who survived to the point of the beginning of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The story is told as seen through the eyes of a 110 year old woman who had lived though it all; with simplicity and immense dignity Jane Pittman speaks of the Reconstruction period in the deep South, with its struggles for black self determination and betterment. The constant terror of the Ku Klux Klan to thwart those efforts, and the legacy of racism that white Americans use right up to the present day.
Gaines’s description of the plantation is authentic and spellbinding. The story gripped my attention right from the beginning and kept it throughout the story. This is a book that I enjoyed the first time I read it and have enjoyed it even more on the second reading. Gaines was born on a Louisiana Plantation but was educated at San Francisco State and Stanford University. This is a must read book for everyone. Lynne Thigpen did an excellent job narrating the story.
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I read this book thirty years ago and was very affected by it. The audible, however, brought life to the words, already so beautifully written. The performance by Ms. Thigpen was riveting. Now, considering what is happening in America, this book, sadly, reminds us of the progress in race relations, yet to be made. I am horrified by the treatment of our fellow human beings. I am horrified by Confederate flags and the N word that is still being used by some on a regular basis. Yet, I am inspired by Miss Jane Pittman and by all of the Jane Pittmans in the world. And the Mr. Pittmans. Gender doesn't matter. When will we learn? I will listen to this book again. I will read this book again.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful