WHOSE TOWN? by Lorenz Graham


Email this review


The question posed by the title--whose town is North Town, everybody's or only the whites?--is one of many troubling responsible, reasonable David Williams; combined, they register the quandary of the middle-class colored (a term used throughout the book) a few years back. Whether teenagers today will be impressed, as David is ultimately, by the minister's injunction not ""to support or endorse hatred and evil"" on either side (here directed against inflammatory prophet Prempey Moshombu on the Negro side) is central to the reception of the book since it has little impact purely as fiction: the style is plodding, the people stiff, the developments talked out. In the course of David's unwarranted runins with the law--he's accused of aggression by a bully who's jumped him, named attacker by a gas station attendant who's killed his friend--the ugliness of prejudice is projected, and, in the normal course of events, David notes, for instance, that he would never have made the college prep curriculum if he hadn't first made the football team. He sees, too, the cost to family solidarity when his father is laid off and his mother has to go to work as a domestic. As a catalogue of the consequences of racism it comes closer to reality than it does as a critique or a criterion, and it's less successful than South Town or North Town as a story.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1969
ISBN: 1590781635
Publisher: Crowell