Thoughts by Ernest J. Gaines, Vintage Books Random House 1983, 214 pages
Challenge: Classics Club SPIN due April 19, 2023
Genre/Theme: Adult Literature / Race Relations
Type/Source: Tradeback / Library
What It’s About: Set in the 70s in rural Louisiana, this tale looks at friendship and loyalty, race relations, changing times that rail against ingrained attitudes, and dreams versus regrets. What a fabulous telling! Tautly paced, calm before coming dreaded storm, we get quick glimpses of real people and all treated relatively respectfully. Well done Author Gaines, a master of story craft.
A man is shot dead and friends rally around the man assumed to have done the deed because he has always been a rock to his beliefs, standing up for my himself. So all the old men grab similar shotguns, shoot and bring the spent shells so that “proof” of who done it is not so easily conclusive. The dead man is white, the group confessing to the killing are all black, except for the white woman who also wants to protect and rally for her own rules of justice (which is not in agreement with the sheriff.
All are more in fear of the family, the father and friends of the dead man coming to claim their own brand of justice. The sheriff is also hoping that won’t happen, but can he stop it?
“I ran out on the front garry and seen it was Miss Merle, and looked like a heavy load just fell off my shoulders.”
Thoughts: This was tense and well plotted. I loved seeing all the perspectives and outlaying of viewpoints black and white, the hopes and dreams over the decades that brought all these people to this point. I am looking forward to watching the movie. It’s got a great cast.
To be honest, I had no prep and it was challenging to figure out with certainty who was white and what was their role and relation to the community and who was black; when it came to the side players and how Gaines introduces everyone, I was challenged and I appreciate that. I really admired the subtleties.
Rating: I think I might raise my rating at a 5 slice of pie. Apple pie is mentioned rather frequently. Could pie be a metaphor? That we assume pie can heal the worlds ills and yes, why can’t it? Sadly, this situation is not easily fixed by apple pie but the ending was more positive than I ever expected.
I had Lucy bake me an apple pie, because I knew how much Jack just liked his apple pie. I told Lucy when she came to work that morning if she baked me the best apple pie she ever baked in her life, I would give her half the day off.
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