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The Other Side of the River

A Story of Two Towns, a Death, and America's Dilemma
Narrated by: Stanley Tucci
Length: 5 hrs and 37 mins
4 out of 5 stars (47 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Alex Kotlowitz's There Are No Children Here was more than a best seller; it was a national event. His beautifully narrated, heartbreaking nonfiction account of two black boys struggling to grow up in a Chicago public housing complex spent eight weeks on The New York Times best seller list, was a made-for-television movie starring and produced by Oprah Winfrey, won many distinguished awards, and sparked a continuing national debate on the lives of inner-city children.

In The Other Side of the River, his eagerly awaited new book, Kotlowitz takes us to southern Michigan. Here, separated by the St. Joseph River, are two towns, St. Joseph and Benton Harbor. Geographically close, they are worlds apart, a living metaphor for America's racial divisions: St. Joseph is a prosperous lakeshore community and 95 percent white, while Benton Harbor is impoverished and 92 percent black. When the body of a black teenaged boy from Benton Harbor is found in the river, unhealed wounds and suspicions between the two towns' populations surface as well. The investigation into the young man's death becomes, inevitably, a screen on which each town projects their resentments and fears.

The Other Side of the River sensitively portrays the lives and hopes of the towns' citizens as they wrestle with this mystery - and reveals the attitudes and misperceptions that undermine race relations throughout America. In this gripping and ultimately profound book, Alex Kotlowitz proves why he is one of this country's foremost writers on the ever explosive issue of race. 

©1998 Alex Kotlowitz (P)1998 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, Bantam Doubleday Dell, A Division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A riveting portrait of a racially troubled America in the 1990's." (Publishers Weekly)
"A vivid American microcosm, a telling tableau of the way we are." (The New York Times)

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Thought Provoking Book

It caused me to think about several different aspects of race relations. It also kept my interest.

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  • Doha
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 06-27-15

Not interesting subject for me

Well I read this book for an ethical issues class and I have to say that it wasn't really that interesting. I know its discussing a serious issue in America which is racial inequality and maybe I don't get a real sense of this issue because I'm alien from it because I wasn't really drawn to it. I have to admit that the writer tried his best to make it seem like a detective story by getting random hints and clues in there but there was no serious scene that made me sincerely interested, like there was no quote that was, at least for me, unique for this book. Also, the ending was disappointing for me and I'm pretty sure even people who get in to this book will hate it as well.
Overall, this book wasn't that good for a normal read and was kinda generic but I guess a person might like it if they were getting into the racial inequality issue.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful