Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sources of Light by Margaret McMullan

Published April 12th, 2010.

It's 1962, a year after the death of Sam's father—he was a war hero—and Sam and her mother must move, along with their very liberal views, to Jackson, Mississippi, her father's conservative hometown. Needless to say, they don't quite fit in.

People like the McLemores fear that Sam, her mother, and her mother's artist friend, Perry, are in the South to "agitate" and to shake up the dividing lines between black and white and blur it all to grey. As racial injustices ensue—sit-ins and run-ins with secret white supremacists—Sam learns to focus with her camera lens to bring forth the social injustice out of the darkness and into the light.

This one almost ended up being a DNF but, literally, right at the middle page of the book, a plot element caught my eye that made me want to keep pushing through. Now, I can't remember what that element was. I can say it was a piece of action in an otherwise rather inactive story. It was a catalyst enough to keep me turning the pages.

But unfortunately I didn't have any kind of "OMG I'm so glad I kept reading!" revelations. The story was okay and I liked the writing enough but I don't think it popped. There wasn't too much that stood out, that struck me as being really powerful. I think it's because I felt the story was rather run-of-the-mill. It's the story of a Yankee white girl moving down to Jackson, Mississippi where outcasts are just as unwanted as anyone with a hint of color in their skin. Unfortunately I just didn't feel it was original enough.

There was a major historical element in the book, the sit-in at the drug store counter, that the MC was placed into but I just didn't feel it. I didn't feel the hum of the air or the hatred in the waitress's eyes or the fear at being caught "on the wrong side" of the fight. It was a girl hidden behind a camera documenting an event that others wanted to happen but they didn't want proof of.

On the other side I liked the growth of Sam throughout the story. You get a real sense of just how immature she is for her age at the beginning of the book and how self-conscious she was about her differences from everyone else. You wanted Stone to not be the Kreeper that kept on being insinuated because Sam liked him so much. But at the same time you wanted to slap her upside the head because of the way she kept convincing herself that he wasn't bad. By the end you could see her as an adult. By staying hidden behind that lens, she developed the backbone she needed to embrace her differences, to take a stand against the popular opinion, to work for what's right. You can actually see her cracking her way out of the shell wrapped around her and I loved her character for it.

But ultimately I just couldn't get myself involved in the story. It's not that I wasn't interested in the events going on, or the turmoil going on in Sam's life. It didn't matter how much I wanted to get engrossed; I just couldn't. I don't really think there's a legitimate reason for me not too. The writing was pretty good and as I said, I loved Sam. But I just wasn't feeling it. I think I felt it lacked passion for what was going on outside of Sam. Sam was a pure focus with everything else taking second chair. Maybe there was too much focus put on Sam and not enough on what was going on around her. Maybe reading it I couldn't get myself far enough out of her head to really feel what was going on. I'm not sure. I do think a lot of people would really like this book but it wasn't for me.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog designed by TwispiredBlogdesign using MK Design's TeaTime kit.