Tapati (tapati) wrote,

Thorpe: A Story of Innocence and Terror

My review at Amazon.

I first found Thorpe on my mother's bookshelf when I was a child, and read it many times as I was growing up. Thorpe is the main character, a little girl who can't understand some of the adult attitudes about race that are all around her in her Southern town. She can't make sense of why she isn't supposed to openly refer to her black friends, children of the woman who does their laundry. Her Northern father gets into trouble because he won't take the oath of supremacy and join in rides with the local racists to intimidate black people. He loses his teaching job during the Great Depression and the family is plunged into poverty, much to the frustration of Thorpe's mother.

Through all of this Thorpe stubbornly remains true to herself and refuses to see things the way she's told she should. The characters are all vivid and believable and the plot is solid. I won't spoil the ending but it's well worth the journey. The serious subject matter is lightened by humor. I can't understand why this story didn't gain the fame that To Kill A Mockingbird received because it is every bit as good. As far as I'm concerned, Thorpe is an undiscovered classic. It ought to be re-printed. If you can't pick up a used copy, you may find it in the library.
Tags: book, poverty, racism, reading

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