Friday, January 4, 2013
The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had, by Kristin Levine
Harry “Dit” Sims and Emma Walker are the unlikeliest of friends. Emma, the educated twelve-year-old daughter of Moundville’s new postmaster, is all wrong as far as Dit’s concerned. Dit was told the new postmaster would have a boy his same age, not a girl. But the rest of the town is more surprised by the Walker family’s color than whether Emma’s a boy or a girl. But that makes no difference to Dit’s mother. Her rule is to be nice to everyone, and before long, Dit’s glad about Mama’s rule. Emma’s not like anyone he’s ever known. Emma is the first person to ever listen to Dit.
Emma also makes Dit think, and about things he’s never given much thought to before, like why the colored kids and the white kids can’t go to school together. Soon Dit’s thinking about a lot more when Doc, who is black and the town barber, is accused of a terrible crime. Dit and Emma know he doesn’t deserve to be punished, and together they come up with a daring plan to save Doc from the unthinkable.
Set in 1917 in Moundville, Alabama, and inspired by the author’s family history, this is the poignant story of a brave friendship and the perils of small-town justice.
It took me quite some time to really get interested in this book. It's probably my fault, though: I was under the impression that the book centers around the "terrible crime" of which Doc is accused, but I was wrong. So I kept wondering when the big reveal was going to happen, and I was getting antsy.
There is no big reveal, my friends. It's a slow build-up to the enlightenment of Harry "Dit" Simms, a 12-year-old white boy living in South in the 1910s. I love the relationship between Dit and Emma Walker, the black daughter of the town's new Postmaster. I had to blink back tears a few times, especially toward the end, when I realized how special their friendship was.
I would recommend this to younger teens, especially as they study racism and the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
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