Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis

So here's a book that I just had a feeling that I was going to love. I totally judged this book by the cover. Something about that cover that I just love. I love the colors in it, I love the representations of the different generations, and I love the story that the cover alone tells. Oh but the story inside the covers is just wonderful. Mare's War is a book that not only let's the reader fall into it's story, traveling along with it's characters, but it also teaches. And isn't that the best kind of book? I learned so much from this book and fell in love with it's characters at the same time. Mare's War is the story of a journey. Of a pair of journeys really. One journey is a car trip cross country that two young African American girls, Tali and Octavia are taking with their grandmother, Mare. The other journey is the story that their grandmother tells them. And what a beautiful, tragic, strong, admirable, courageous, and ultimately humbling story it is. But Tali and Octavia don't see it that way at first. They see their grandmother as old and eccentric, trying to be younger than her days are. Living in a world that is not theirs. But they take the journey with her and learn with her. Mare grew up on a farm and had her own sister to look after while her mother kept a boyfriend who was abusive to the two sisters. When the opportunity came for Marey (Mare's name) to go off to war, a new opportunity for women of color, she signed up and left, promising her sister a better life for the two of them. What unfolds in Mare's story is an awe inspiring story, a story that likely many women of color actually shared in the 40's. Something that I was not aware of before reading this book! This is a time period in African American history that is often overlooked and not often discussed. It thrilled me to learn a little bit more about this time period. It broke my heart as well to hear about the amount of hatred that still existed and the amount of ignorance that still existed as well. Though of course much of that hatred and ignorance still exists today. But through reading books like this one by Ms. Davis, we can get to talking more. We can get to knowing our history more. Get to understanding each other a little bit more. Pick up this book, read it and then hand it to some one else to read. It's a beautiful book and a beautiful story and it left me laughing and tearing up so many times throughout. Another one that I wish I wouldn't have gotten from the damn library but would've actually bought for the keeper shelves.

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