Sunday, March 2, 2014

Have No Shame by Melissa Foster

I really like reading books on my Kindle.  I still buy books and borrow them from the library, but I really like that my Kindle carries so many books, it is small and lightweight and it is very easy to read in bed.  One of the things I don't like about Kindle books is that it is hard to tell the length of a book.  Yes, it has the percentage bar at the bottom of the screen to tell me how far I am into a book, but as I found today, that can occasionally be deceiving.  Have No Shame by Melissa Foster is a wonderful book and I was really enjoying it.  According to the percentage bar, I was nearly halfway through it today and I was expecting to spend a few hours enjoying it and possibly finishing it.  Suddenly, with the bar at 50%, I came to the end.  Wait, what?  I was very confused.  

Have No Shame is written in two formats, one with Southern dialect and one without.  I didn't realize this because my Kindle always begins with the first chapter.  I missed the whole "ATTENTION READERS" section that would have explained the two formats.  I thought I had a lot more book to read and I was sadly disappointed.  I was loving this book and while it was still very good, I wanted more.  

Have No Shame is about Alison, a young woman in 1967 Forrest Town, Arkansas.  The civil rights movement has yet to reach this small town or the farm on which Alison was raised.  She is soon to be married to her high school sweetheart, but her whole world is shaken when she discovers the dead body of a black man floating in the river.  Her perspective begins to shift as she awakens to the inequalities and cruelties that surround her:  "As a young southern woman, I knew that the expectation was for me to get married, have children, and perpetuate the hate that had been bred in our lives.  My children, they'd be born into the same hateful society.  That realization brought me to my knees."  

As Alison becomes aware that it is her soon-to-be husband that is responsible for many of the beatings and even the deaths of innocent people, she resists the idea of marrying him, but her desire to stay in her father's good graces prevents her from changing her mind.  Added to the confusion about her future is that she has begun having feelings about Jackson, a black man.  At this time and in this place it was certainly not acceptable, but Alison feels a pulled in too many directions.  

This book is a compelling look at the civil rights movement in a small town.  Some of us may take for granted the rights that simply didn't exist fifty years ago while it is also true that there is still work to be done.  Alison is only eighteen-years-old and exceedingly naive.  The world is not what she once believed and she is not a strong female character, but she is changing and that is what makes her so endearing.  I hope you'll read this book and enjoy it as I did. As a bonus, Amazon is currently offering the Kindle version for only $.99!  You really can't beat that!  Just be sure to notice the two formats offered.  

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