Books by Bette Greene

I’VE ALREADY FORGOTTEN YOUR NAME, PHILIP HALL! by Bette Greene
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2004

Pre-teenagers Beth Lambert and Philip Hall were first introduced to readers in the 1970s. Now there is a nostalgic small-town feel as the two deal with the ins and outs of their friendship. Beth's friends in the Walnut Ridge Irritated Oysters club reluctantly bid her goodbye as she returns from her grandparents' home to her good ole hometown of Pocahontas, Arkansas. A little jealousy and curiosity come between the two and before Beth knows it, Philip is preparing to arm-wrestle a non-existent foe from Walnut Ridge. When the town's mayor issues a challenge to the mayor of Walnut Ridge to send the foe or any arm-wrestler who is better, Mama Regina (Beth's grandmother) arrives in town, and after much drama, the townspeople reluctantly match her up with the town's champion: Philip Hall. The climax is predictable and the drama contrived. Only a few readers will find the setting or events credible—even if viewed in a historical context. (Fiction. 8-10)Read full book review >
THE DROWNING OF STEPHAN JONES by Bette Greene
FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 1991

A noted author (Summer of My German Soldier, 1973) depicts the tragic effects of homophobia, with results that are more polemical than literary. Carla, high-school-age daughter of the feisty, liberal librarian in a small Arkansas town, is overwhelmingly attracted to Andy, as much because of his all-American lifestyle as his handsome good looks. She's even willing to overlook his vicious harassment of a gay couple until, in a brutally vivid scene, he and some of his friends torture and drown one of them. Eyes opened, Carla steps forward as chief witness at a trial that results in a manslaughter conviction and probation for all. At the close, Stephan Jones' surviving partner extracts a uniquely apt revenge. Unfortunately, Greene's empathetic depiction of the gay couple and her powerful arguments concerning the role of religion in gay persecution are undermined by an awkward, florid style with abruptly shifting points of view and a tendency to tell rather than show. A story with a significant theme, but without the artistic distinction of the author's early books. (Fiction. 14+) Read full book review >