THE SOUL BROTHERS AND SISTER LOU by Kristin Hunter
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THE SOUL BROTHERS AND SISTER LOU

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The misery and sweetness of growing up black--and if it sells soul, it also talks sense. Louretta Hawkins, at fourteen, is a nice girl who lives Longfellow--""Learn to labor and to wait""--until the police raid the teenage club in her brother's print shop and, without provocation, shoot one of the boys; then she discards the homilies she's learned in school and adopts the hostile stance of an Outsider. But a nasty brush with organized Black Nationalists--who scorn her light skin--deflects her from violence and a modicum of justice-the print shop to reopen, the club to continue, the policeman to be punished--tempers her outrage. What saves her, however, is soul: she finds it in music; at a stomping, shouting funeral; finally in herself. The story could end here and perhaps should: the quick success of Louretta and three of the boys as a singing group, performing blues she and another boy have written, is no more than an appendage that allows for a few extra ironies. Subsumed within the story is the whole range of white and black attitudes, and Miss Hunter doesn't mince words: whites expecting gratitude, older Negroes awaiting the next world, militants welcoming a martyr--all get a going over. Not all-time literature, maybe, but in 1968 this is it.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Scribners