Ludie's Song

Dirlie Herlihy, Author Dial Books $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8037-0533-3
Marty, 12, spends a week of her summer vacation at her aunt and uncle's home in the small town of Caldwell, Ga. The story is set in the 1950s and prejudice runs rampant. Blacks and whites are segregated at drinking fountains, in the location of their homes and in businesses. Although Marty's family employs black women to clean and cook, it is made clear to her that blacks and whites are not to mingle. But Marty disobeys and finds herself drawn into this forbidden world. When she is abducted by white boys, the incident is blamed on her black friend. In an attempt to be authentic and evocative of the time, Herlihy's text is chock-full of derogatory speech, but it is so relentless that it detracts from her portrayal of a child's gradual awareness of the oppression of blacks at that time. Almost all the whites are presented as total bigots, with only Marty's questions to upset the status quo. And unlike Mildred Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and Let the Circle Be Unbroken , which genuinely recreate an era, Ludie's Song seems harsh and one-sided, and fails to universalize Marty's experience in a way that many readers will be able to relate to. Ages 10-up. (Oct . )
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-14-034245-1
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