It’s 1966, just two years after President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law, and twelve-year-old Joy Bradford’s life is changing dramatically. Born and raised in the white suburbs of Connecticut, Joy is moving to Willets Point, Florida to live with her mother Jessica because her parents are divorcing. Hoping it really is the Promised Land that her mother describes, she joins in Jessica’s enthusiasm only to find out how horribly wrong that vision is.
Unfortunately for Joy, the move does nothing to change her mother’s emotional and mental instability, resulting in a continuation of the physical and verbal abuse she is all too used to receiving. Her new school is years behind her old one, the kids dress and act differently, and on just the second day, Joy has a run-in with her geography teacher. Things are going from bad to worse until Clay Dooley, a mixed-race boy from that same geography class, offers his friendship. The two become close, sending shockwaves that dovetail with a growing sense of tension and unease in the community as a whole. Clay’s father Clytus, a well-educated black man, attempts to open his own clothing store in the white section of downtown Willets Point. This causes Jessica’s new lawyer cum boyfriend and leader of the local Klan chapter, Bill McKendrick, to join with other white citizens in using great force to block Clytus’ dreams. Tempers flare and emotions run high when Clytus refuses the Klan’s subsequent demand that he and his family move out of the white neighborhood they live in, setting off an explosive confrontation that will change them all forever.
This book takes you to the ugly side of humanity. It takes place shortly after the Civil Rights Act came into law. I wasn’t alive during all of this, but my mom used to tell me horrible stories about that time. It makes my heart ache to know that people were treated so horribly because they were different. Then again, it still happens today. And I can’t stand it. We are all the same no matter what color, what religion, what sexual preference, we all bleed the same.
This story was extremely well written especially considering the delicate matter that it is about. I disliked the closed minded Bill and his cronies. This book just shows the fear and ignorance of those closed minded people who spew hatred towards others who are different.
This is definitely one of those books that will make you think. It allow you to see what it is like to be one of the people who are hated for being different. It will help to open your mind.
In conjunction with the Wakela’s World Disclosure Statement, I received a product in order to enable my review. No other compensation has been received. My statements are an honest account of my experience with the brand. The opinions stated here are mine alone.