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  • Posted April 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Thought provoking

    This is an excellently crafted novel that looks at race relations and bigotry from a range of perspectives. The characters are interesting, frustrating and totally real and the plot rings true as similar situations are playing out all over the country on a daily basis.

    McCall has put together a fascinating story that is both thought provoking and interesting to read -- and his writing engages his readers from the start. I highly recommend!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 7, 2009

    good read

    them brings the new "race" issue to the surface gentifacation many historical black communities are facing this issue

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2008

    A reviewer

    Gentrification '' ¿ the buying and renovation of houses and stores in deteriorated urban neighborhoods by upper- or middle-income families or individuals, thus improving property values but often displacing low-income families and small businesses. In Nathan McCall¿s second release, the issue at hand is the gentrification of Atlanta¿s Old Fourth Ward, heavily populated by African-Americans who have become comfortable within their own zone and accustom to their way of life. The neighborhood enters a phase of change because ¿they¿ start moving in. Most African Americans in the neighborhood - like main character character, Barlowe Reed, are uncomfortable with accepting the change due to innate feelings of there simply being just ¿too much water under the bridge.¿ Cohabitating with seemingly concerned others is a notion hardly acceptable. While reading this novel, I got the impression that Barlowe felt victimized by ¿the system¿ and simply became comfortable with his personal status quo because prior experience had proven him powerless in many ways, all because of his heritage. The sight of the American flag, not really being happy with his Caucasian supervisor¿s treatment towards him and the uneasiness he feels when he starts seeing the trickle of ¿them¿ moving into his neighborhood ¿ all representing things, situations or people he feels can take something from him. I get the sense Barlowe feels he doesn¿t own or have rights to anything ¿ a corner in the world he can call his own. The Old Fourth Ward goes through a period where the community is at odds due to a series of mishaps and downright misunderstandings that occur as more of ¿them¿ move in. The neighborhood becomes tense as the racial divide continues to grow. The African Americans feel as if they are being moved over and out as new coffee shops and pottery courses spring up. Black folks aren¿t into that kind of thing. They also see that the public officials are paying more close attention to the ¿potential¿ now. Where was the potential in the neighborhood before? Did it not exist prior to ¿them¿ moving in? One particular example, the streets are now being paved whereas before a pothole was nothing major. Now bike paths are being petitioned because¿they¿ live in the Old Fourth Ward now. Enter Sean and Sandy Gilmore, a Caucasian couple, moving to the Old Fourth Ward after a realtor pitches the neighborhood to them asking if they¿d consider ¿going black,¿ reassuring an apprehensive Sean that ¿they¿ drive values thus, no need to worry about property values deteriorating ¿ ¿the prices are still real low, but I¿m telling you it¿s about to explode.¿ Sandy, on the other hand, anticipated seeing the homes for sale in the neighborhood. Now, Barlowe has ¿them¿ as neighbors. Barlowe and Sandy form an unusual relationship after many conversations through a fence that separated their back yards. Both characters become frustrated with race relations. She believing she is a conduit for integration and he making her aware that it¿s not that easy to just slide in and think she can save the world. Barlowe thinks Sandy is naïve and while she does empathize with him regarding the situation at hand in the Old Fourth Ward, she does not speak her feelings publicly. I do believe at some point, the two agreed to disagree on a lot of things, developed a certain degree of respect and level of understanding toward the other, eventually moving on. Barlowe settling into the Old Fourth Ward as it continued to change, while Sandy and Sean ended up moving away. Nathan McCall does a good job in provoking reader thought towards race relations in America today. The book discusses the basis of misunderstandings between African Americans and Caucasians and assumptions based on stereotypes. I think Them will force readers to examine their own thought patterns on the issue. Them is a page turner. Although the storyline does not present solutions, it does make one think.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2013

    Eye opener

    First of all, I would like to say Nathan Mccall is a great writer. I've read a few of his books. His stories are very stimulating. Them, depicts the constant stereotypes that continue to exist in our society. We are all guilty in some way. Our past inflictions have had a major impact in the way we view life. Each of us have our own individual burdens to deal with. White and Black.

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    Posted February 5, 2012

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    Posted January 1, 2011

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    Posted October 28, 2008

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    Posted April 6, 2009

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