ALLIGATOR BAYOU by Donna Jo Napoli

ALLIGATOR BAYOU

Age Range: 12 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

A haunting story based on a tragic historical event—the lynching of a group of Italian men in Tallulah, La., in 1899. Recently orphaned, 14-year-old Calogero has moved from Sicily to Louisiana to work with his father’s friends in their produce business. Although the Sicilians are prospering, Calo learns that their social position is precarious. In a town strictly divided between black and white, Sicilians are considered neither, and furthermore, they carry undeserved reputations as cheats and murderers. The Sicilians’ insistence on treating customers of all races with respect, their thrift—townsfolk complain that they take in money but do not spend it—and the fact they can’t seem to keep their goats off other people’s property combine to ignite a spark of unspeakable violence. All five members of Calo’s new family are murdered. Only Calo escapes with his life. Napoli brings social issues into sharp focus but balances them with details about Calo’s everyday life, creating an engaging story with many avenues to deep reflection on our country’s treatment, past and present, of its immigrants. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: March 10th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-385-74654-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2009




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