We have a hard time finding books for my five year old who does not like anything with conflict or emotional distress between the characters. Beverly Clearly writes well and handles conflict and emotional distress in a way that teaches, but isn't scary. Everyone in the family enjoyed this listen....the age ranges of the kids span 10 years, so finding a book that everyone enjoys can be difficult. I would recommend this book for anyone with kids. It probably helps that I remember reading and enjoying this book as a child.
I love Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family, by Condoleezza Rice, because it speaks to me. My parents grew up in the South, but my family has none of the experiences that most people think of when they think of the southern living in the 50s. There are three reasons for this:
1. My grandparents were educated .My grandmother was a midwife who worked in the local community. I don’t know what my grandfather did for a living but I know he worked outside of the home.
2. My grandparents owned their land. They farmed and often employed people in the community to help in the fields.
3. My grandparents raised their children away from racism and segregation. They had a big family so they are at home and a avoided issues like “white only” restrooms when raising their kids. My mother and her siblings went to the private family school so there was no segregation on that front either. My grandparents had their own car so there was never an occasion to sit at the back of the bus.
This means that my mom grew up in middle to upper middle class home. That is a stark contrast from what most people think of when they think of the deep south in the 1950s. The standard portrayal usually involves uneducated black people in the service community. People tend to ignore the stories of people who do not fit that image. The Help is an example of this type of “love to adore the servant black character” fiction and it is disgusting when a book like that gets such rave reviews for reinforcing negative stereotypes by having boring characters filling roles that we have seen over and over again. I often wonder if the people who give books like this great review are nursing some desire to return to a world like that.
Reading Condi’s book felt like coming home. It was the first time that I read a book about a black family in the south that resonated with me. Her stories are similar to my stories. I enjoyed reading about her journey because it was more similar to my journey
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