Monday, March 26, 2018

It All Comes Down to This by Karen English - OPTIONAL

English, Karen It All Comes Down to This, 355 pages. Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), 2017. $16.99. Language: PG (racial slurs), Mature Content: PG, Violence: PG

12-year-old Sophie has just moved to an all-white upper middle class neighborhood in Los Angeles. Her mother has rejected her own black identity and sheltered Sophie from the reality of being black in 1965. Sophie faces ridicule and prejudice from the white girls in her neighborhood. Luckily, one girl stands up for her and becomes her best friend. But when Sophie clearly performs the best in the theatre audition and still doesn’t get the part, she realizes the severity of the injustice. Her fears are further confirmed when her sister’s boyfriend is falsely arrested in the Watts riots. It’s not just the police that is offended by his dark African skin. Her own light-skinned mother forbids her sister’s budding romance.

Though not my favorite 1960s civil rights story, it does cover a lot of issues. Advantage of light brown skin. Police prejudice. Neighborhood segregation. Watts Riots. Sophie must deal with a lot of rejection and stereotyping. Her own mother even tries to reject her culture. The childhood perspective feels very authentic. I can imagine that this is exactly how it was for a black girl in the 60s. It’s a little on the long side since there is no mystery or adventure to keep things moving, but if you need more historical fiction covering civil rights, then this is a good book to consider.

MS – OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Valerie McEnroe, Media Specialist

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