Monday, March 08, 2010
It ended up the other way around. I simply forgot about the look, size and color of the houses. I became engrossed in this woman's life. However, knowing the importance of place to the author and also myself I always turned back to the cover to look at the white sheers hung at the window and to peek at the birdie on the windowsill. As times became tougher in her life, I would again return to the cover hoping this type of peace and serenity would return to her life soon.
Lacey and her family's life is a mixed bag. It's not all happy, happy. Neither is it all boohoo sad. This makes the book feel like a memoir and not a novel. I will especially remember when Lacey met her mother's long ago friend Cat. This could have been a moment of tension instead it was a moment of sharing, learning and correcting rumors. Then, there is Sophie, her sister. I won't say any more about Sophie. I just wanted to mention her name to establish the fact that her story angered and saddened me. It's a case of the permanence of the spoken word. Once painful words are said we can only hope the victim of the other person will forgive us.
I was fascinated with the way Cynthia Rogers Parks firmly placed me in the middle of American History: Robert Kennedy's assassination, the name, James Earl Ray. Of course, the name Martin Luther King and what he was doing in Memphis during that fatal time.
I did feel a sense of uncertainty when the author wrote about racial situations. I can not speak for her. She never gave away her political opinions. I did feel a sense of fear that she did not desire to divulge her opinions about race although, she lived in the heart of it all, Memphis, the place where Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered.
The book is a must read. However, there are a few areas that bothered me. For example, here is a quote about what happened after MLK's assassination. "The first obstacle was that there was nothing, absolutely nothing in the way of transportation from the city. This isolation protected us, I suppose, from marauding bands of juvenile delinquents who might otherwise have been tempted to hop a bus and bring their crime spree to our far northwestern suburbs."
I wanted to shake Lacey. The word "crime spree" just left me cold. Then, I had to wonder is this why the white populace move to "lily-white" communities. To me, Lacey became a whole other person when interacting, one black man who looked angry after the assassination, or thinking about the black community.
I choose to think Cynthia Rogers Parks stepped out of the way as an author and allowed Lacey become a lone, public, true voice of some white people. I can only sympathize how tough it has to be for all authors to step in another person's moccasins revealing the flaws and perfections of our inner selves.
I truly loved "Houses" by Cynthia Rogers Parks. It's another great novel that should not go unread. It's a five star read for me.