Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Book Review: Deed So by Katharine A. Russell
Author: Katharine A. Russell
428 pages (not incl. acknowledgments)
(from the back cover)" A young girl struggles to understand a tightening web of racial and generational tensions during the turbulent 1960's in the astonishing new novel, Deed So, by Katharine A. Russell. All twelve-year-old Haddie Bashford wants is to leave the closed-minded world of Wicomico Corners behind, int he hopes that a brighter future awaits elsewhere. But when she witnesses the brutal killing of a black teen, Haddie finds her family embroiled in turmoil fraught with racial tensions. Tempers flare as the case goes to trial, but things are about to get even hotter when an arsonist suddenly begins to terrorize the town. Can Haddie help save her town, and herself?
Gorgeously written and filled with warm, luminous characters, Deed So is both a snapshot of a tunultuous time and a moving coming-of-age story of a remarkable young girl."
This is a fascinating page-turner that takes one back in time to a small fictional town in Maryland, USA during the turbulent 1960s. Slavery is abolished but schools are still segregated. Many still hold to the racial bigotry of generations previous. It's the story of 12-year old Haddie and her perspective on life in small town USA. Haddie feels smothered, everyone knows eachother's business and she can't wait to grow up and move away. When she witnesses the murder of a black youth, Haddie's life and the whole town becomes engulfed in the turmoil of the times.
Deed So is not written as if a 12-year old wrote it, but is presented in the language of an adult with memories of that age. Deed So is a moving, and, at times, on the edge of your seat, fictional work that spans several genres including drama, action/adventure, suspense, YA and adult. All the characters are so extremely vivid in their description and behaviours that the reader comes to know them. This is one of those lovely novels that involves the audience so that for it to end is a disappointment. I wanted to continue to follow Haddie's life. Her story could continue on and be more, perhaps a series of novels. She is that strong of a character. I don't know of many novels that span the years from childhood through adulthood in a serial format but perhaps this one could and should.