Updated: Jul 31
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BANNED BOOK REVIEW BY A CITIZEN OF LARAMIE COUNTY
OUT OF DARKNESS
Out of Darkness by Ashley Perez
Reviewed by Jenn, Cheyenne, WY
This book is truly an excellent historical fiction novel. It tells the love story of main characters Naomi and Wash, an interracial couple in a time that was not permitted, against the backdrop of a true historical event, an explosion at a school in New London, Texas in 1937. Readers see how segregated communities were at that time. The author does include White characters who are kind to minority characters, revealing that not everyone followed the customs of the era. The book shows that it was very difficult for women to be independent in the 1930s. Naomi, for example, cannot escape her abusive stepfather because women, especially women of color, had very little agency over their own lives. If you cannot even open a bank account in your name without a man's permission, how do escape an abuser? You were dependent on the goodness of your father/stepfather and then your husband. The book reveals what a precarious position many women were in at this point in history. You know that Naomi and Wash's love story is doomed because of miscegenation laws at the time, and yet, you root for them to overcome prejudice and create a life for themselves. The book masterfully builds empathy for these characters' difficult situations. Reading it helped me appreciate the strides we have made, but it also made me think about the present and recognize that more can still be done to ensure equality and justice for all today too.
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