My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I give it 4 stars for an excellent dialogue about race. How we all come with certain biases, (how could we not?), whether we acknowledge them or not. It also gets 4 stars for two excellent twists. And for skewering Bezerkley as much as D'aron's little backwater Southern town. But I will say that it could have been better (much better) with some judicial editing. It is told in a sort of jazz ska stream of consciousness...which works sometimes...the opening sentence that goes on for a page and a half is brilliant. But most of the time I felt as though I were swimming upstream trying to hold on the plot. Even the ideas and questions raised get diluted with so much dithering and circumlocutions. Also, just to play devils advocate...so much controversy surrounded The Help when Stockett wrote in the voice of a black woman, and yet Johnsons protagonist is white (and the whites here are portrayed none too keenly) and yet no one seems to be upset about that. Why can whites only write white people, but black authors have free license? To be clear, I am not upset about Johnsons portrayal, only questioning the seeming double standard for writers today.
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"People generally aren't too fond of people who are different. No one can warm to everybody. That ain't ever gonna change. Only thing'll change is what counts as different, from time to time. So, try to take 'em as individuals. Know you can't fix the world."