I’ve been peeking in on Joey Pinkney’s blog for awhile now. It’s a book blog too. We’ve been playing follow-tag on Twitter for ages… you know we follow each other, for whatever reason someone un-follows someone, and then a while later says “Oh Hey, That Person Looks Neat,” and then we’re back to following each other again… I’m sure you’ve played it with a few people too.
So this time I said something about it. The guy is super cool about being pleasantly called out on this game we’ve been playing… a game I only noticed because his profile picture is unmistakable and I genuinely enjoy his posts.
After a little chat, he agreed to guest blog for me. Yay! I love having guest bloggers and doing interviews. It makes me feel like Oprah. Meet Joey:
Southern Strife Book Review by Joey Pinkney
Title: Southern Strife
Author: Valerie Stocking
“Southern Strife: A Novel of Racial Tension in the 1960s” is Valerie Stocking’s sophomore effort. The notion of “sophomore slump” does not apply. This novel is a powerful portrayal of America’s not-so-distant history in dealing with the false concept of this country being a melting pot.
“Southern Strife” is refreshingly offensive. I say that because Valerie Stocking sculpted the characters in a realistic manner and not in a way that would fit in a neat, little box. Stocking’s portrayal of racism within the pages of “Southern Strife” is like an honest parent’s portrayal of Christmas. (“Honey, there is no Santa Claus. I bought you those presents under the Christmas tree…”)
The author uses Willets Point as a microcosm of the effects of racism on both black and white people in 1960s America with twelve-year-old Joy Bradford uncomfortably stuck in the middle. With her scotch-loving aunt being one of Willets Point’s key socialites and her narcissistic mother seeking the affections of her divorce lawyer who is also the leader of the local Ku Klux Klan chapter, Joy’s experience with racism is more than casual.
“Southern Strife” is much, much more than a story about racism. There are many points and counterpoints cleverly woven into the fabric of this novel. Coming in at a healthy 435 pages, “Southern Strife” is not a short read. There were a few lulls in the plot here and there, but that is to be expected in a book of this length. The author makes great use of non-linear storytelling. As the time periods ebb and flow, situations become more clear yet more complicated.