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The Road to Memphis

by Mildred Taylor


Publishers Weekly :

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In the tradition of Maya Angelou and Alice Walker, Taylor uses powerful, vibrant prose to express the sentiments of a young black Southerner, as the Newbery Medalist continues the story of Cassie Logan. The year is 1941, and 17-year-old Cassie prepares for college by attending high school in Jackson, Miss., where her brother Stacey and friends Little Willie and Moe work in factories. No longer under the protective wing of her parents and Big Ma, Cassie confronts the hostility of the white community and faces new harsh realities including the betrayal of a childhood friend, the outbreak of World War II and an act of violence that forces Moe into hiding. Although Cassie experiences fear and humiliation, her determination to fight for justice remains undaunted. Offering the same captivating characters, honest dialogue and resonant imagery found in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and Let the Circle Be Unbroken , this enlightening, moving novel will leave readers yearning for the next installment of the Logan saga. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 1990 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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School Library Journal :

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Gr 7-10-- Taylor continues the saga of the Logan family ( Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Dial, 1976). The setting is Mississippi in 1941, and although the impending war has created some new job opportunities for blacks, discrimination and blatant racism still abound. The focus is on Cassie, now 17, her brother Stacey, and their friends, who are confronted and often humiliated by the white people they encounter. In one pivotal scene, a young man who defends himself after merciless taunting realizes he must leave Mississippi rather than face an unfair ``justice' system. During that escape to Memphis, the friends face even more racist situations. Indeed, instances of white oppression and prejudice permeate the book, making it more stark than the earlier titles that emphasized family strength and unity in addition to exposing racism. Side plots involving the pregnancy of one friend, as well as the illness and death of another, add another element to the story but do not flow smoothly into the narrative. Taylor conveys the harsh realities of the time, as well as strong-willed Cassie's realization that as an adult she will have to make her own decisions and fight her own battles. Cassie's dream of becoming a lawyer and the looming war raise related questions regarding the white-controlled legal system and the injustice of fighting a war that sustains the status-quo, questions that have no easy answers. This is a dramatic, painful book, but it's more of a string of events than a narrative with strong characterizations. --Susan Schuller, Milwaukee Public Library

Copyright 1990 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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