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Posted April 8, 2009
Reviewed by LadyJay for TeensReadToo.com
It is the year 1899. Calogero, a 14-year-old Sicilian immigrant, lives in Tallulah, Louisiana, with his uncles and cousins.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
They have all come to America seeking a better life. They do well for themselves, selling fruits and vegetables from a corner grocery store. They do not seek out trouble, but it always has a way of finding them.
Calo and his family do not discriminate between blacks and whites. They sell to anyone who will buy their produce. Members of the town find this behavior reprehensible and disgusting. It is only a matter of time before the white citizens of Tallulah turn their backs on Calo and his family, and destroy every possible hope they had of leading quiet, normal lives.
Donna Jo Napoli has done extensive research for this novel. The afterword explains that Napoli came across an article about five Sicilian grocers in Tallulah, Louisiana, who were lynched because they served a black customer before a white one. The article moved Napoli, and she felt a story must be told about these men. Napoli based her characters on those people who testified or were talked about in the testaments taken after the Tallulah lynching.
The time and effort Napoli has put into her research makes the story more genuine, more affecting. It is a tragic story that ends with a glimmer of hope.
Read this novel - it is a horrific reminder of what can happen when prejudice prevails and mob mentality rules over all.
Posted May 3, 2011
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