Monday, March 30, 2020

Kent State by Deborah Wiles - OPTIONAL

Kent State by Deborah Wiles, 132 pages. Scholastic Press, 2020.  $18.  

Content: Language: R (13 swears; 2 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence; PG-13  



An anti-war demonstration at Kent State during the first week of May, 1970 escalated, so the National Guard was brought into Kent to restore order.  After four days of tension and little acts of violence, the National Guard opened fire over the campus and killed four students.  This true event and the many people who witnessed or were involved are represented in this historical prose told by Deborah Wiles.  Five different voices discuss the events building up to the morning of the shooting and they share their opinion and perspective.  

I liked the idea of this historical fiction, but there is too much going on with the format and the dramatic arguing among unnamed voices.  It just came across jumbled and confusing.  The author’s notes could have been helpful but there was a lot of opinion and not enough historical set-up. The reader would have to have a lot of prior knowledge about the time period and the Vietnam War to fully understand the conflict. The content includes graphic shootings of innocent students.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson 

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