Suspense. Historical Fiction. Young Adult Fiction. Young Adult Literature. From acclaimed author Patricia Hruby Powell comes the story of a landmark civil rights case, told in spare and gorgeous verse. In 1955, in Caroline County, Virginia, amidst segregation and prejudice, injustice and cruelty, two teenagers fell in love. Their life together broke the law, but their determination would change it. Richard and Mildred Loving were at the heart of a Supreme Court case that legalized marriage between races, and a story of the devoted couple who faced discrimination, fought it, and won.
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In telling this story, Ms. Powell uses a very sparse, poetic style which allows the brutal reality of what happened to the Lovings to come through clearly with a strong impact. There isn't a lot of description or back-story to detract from Mildred's and Richard's reality. The text is accompanied by illustrations. I loved the way the illustrations showed Mildred and Richard always so happy in each others' presence. The book also includes actual excerpts from court cases, speeches and other documents which set the mood of the times.
This book would be suitable for older children as well as for adults.
Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me to review this book for an honest opinion.
In this book by Patricia Hruby Powell the path to that judgment is laid out in a stimulating free verse pattern, consisting of diary-like monologues from Mildred and Richard alternating with a dialogue between the two. It traces the history of their relationship: growing up in Caroline County, not far from Fredericksburg, meeting as teenagers to falling in love and marrying out of state in Washington, D.C. This engaging style propels the reader quickly along the life's path of the aptly-named Loving couple through the pitfalls of prejudice around them, and the fear they feel for themselves and their children.
In addition Ms. Powell includes text and photos of the major civil rights events of the time, as well as tracing the path of "Jim Crow" from the Plessy vs. Ferguson decision onwards. This book will be a wonderful tool for students, especially high school students, to understand these aspects of racial prejudice, segregation and the violation of a person's constitutional rights. It does so by bringing Mildred and Richard immediately into your heart and mind. As Mildred stated after their arrest and then the birth of the first baby:: "This child is the very reason they don't want us married." And it concludes with the startling realization that the last state to reverse its stand on miscegenation was Alabama in 2000.
This lovely hard cover book was, despite it physical weight, a quick read. The style used by author Patricia Hruby Powell was an interesting mix of graphic novel (combining illustrations with text), journal entry narrative in free-verse
On another note, I saw the film *Loving* just a few days before reading the book. The film was well done, I thought; the acting quiet, understated. But after reading the book, I realized that there was much about the background of the actual case, and their lives, to some extent, that was missing in the film. I think reading the book first would have enriched the watching of the film, and I wonder if film-goers who went in not knowing anything about the case, would have got as much out of it. I am really happy that I was able to read this important book and learn more.