THE ROAD TO MEMPHIS by Mildred D. Taylor
Kirkus Star

THE ROAD TO MEMPHIS

KIRKUS REVIEW

Continuing the saga of the Logan family--extraordinary as black landowners in pre-WW II Mississippi while also representative of the agonies of survival in a racist society--Cassie (age nine in Newbery-winner Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, 1976) recounts harrowing events during late 1941. Now 17 and aiming for law school, Cassie goes to school in nearby Jackson, where older brother Stacey works and has earned his first car. At home, redneck bullying is as cruel as ever: as "coon" in a malicious "hunt," one friend is severely wounded; another, Moe, is attacked and goaded until he retaliates with a crowbar. Old friend and ally Jeremy, though kin to the white tormentors, helps spirit Moe to Jackson (a courageous act for which he later pays a terrible price); with Cassie and new soldier Clarence joining in the perilous journey, Stacey drives Moe to Memphis to catch a northbound train to safety. As in the other Logan stories, the painful, authentic, vividly portrayed injustices follow one after another, each making its point: Clarence's death after a white doctor refuses to treat him; the barely averted gang-rape of a black gift found alone; the malicious vandalizing of Stacey's car. There are only occasional consoling hints of the Logans' powerful family unity; the one comfortingly safe interlude here is with Solomon Bradley, a charismatic, Harvard-educated black lawyer who runs a Memphis newspaper--his unresolved relationship with Cassie, who is on the verge of becoming a dauntless, spirited, highly intelligent woman, looks like a good subject for another book. An engrossing, capably written picture of fine young people endeavoring to find the right way in a world that persistently wrongs them.
Pub Date: May 1st, 1990
ISBN: 0140360778
Page count: 308pp
Publisher: Dial
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1990




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