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Tina's Reading Books

Genre fiction lover:  Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Urban Fantasy

Let It Shine

Let It Shine - Alyssa B. Cole

When I was in college I saw an excellent, excellent documentary on PBS called 'Eyes on The Prize' It was a multi-part look at the civil rights movement, starting with the murder of Emmit Till and hitting all the high points: Martin, Malcolm, Selma, 'I Have a Dream' speech, letters from Birmingham etc., right on through the assassinations of King, Kennedy, Kennedy and Malcolm.

But the one thing that stuck out for me were the episodes on SNCC - the Student Non-Violent Coordinating committee. I was in my comfy PWI, Division-A, student-centered research institution with an enrollment close to 25,000 students. And I was completely riveted by at the activism of these college students who were riding into danger, sitting at 'whites only' counters, and who had prepared wills because they knew they might not make it home. Since I was studying journalism at the time, I developed a girl crush Charlayne Hunter-Gault who was one of the first students to desegregate the Univ. of Georgia, her story is also told in the documentary.

This story is set in the same time focusing on one miss Sofronia Wallis who had let her own light dim a bit in the aftermath of her mother's untimely death. But Sofie is a woman with passions and convictions and she wants to be part of the movement.

So does Ivan Friedman, a white Jewish man who knew Sofie when they were children. IHe'd had a major crush on her but their life paths converged after that fateful day of her mother's death. Ivan also joins the movement and he and Sofie start up a new chapter in their relationship.

I liked this quite a bite mainly because it is a time and era and backdrop that romance novels don't like to visit. But it is a vibrant time and one that I'd like to see more often.

I very much like the characterization of Sofie who had repressed so much of herself. As you read you get the real sense of her true self needing to peek through and escape, very much like like light escaping through small crevices to shine bright.

I also liked the fact that Ivan was Jewish and that the author ably included pieces of that culture as well as Ivan's perspectives on the comparisons between Jim Crow and the conditions that existed when parents escaped from Europe right before WWII.

Th book had a nice dose of realism with scenes of the students drilling and learning how to take taunts, physical threats, an even punches and hits without reacting to violence as well as descriptions of them watching news reports of attacks on the Freedom Rider. But it is still a romance and Sofie and Ivan were sweet together.

I recommend. Also recommend the books the author cites at the end, especially the McWhorter book which my husband uses as a text in his Civil Rights courses. Also "Eyes on the Prize" is a must see!