Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Little Known- Janice Daugharty

The Little Known
Janice Daugharty
Bell Bridge Books, Feb 2010, $14.95
ISBN: 9780984125852

In Statenville, Georgia, integrations is creeping at a snail’s pace as both whites and blacks prefer segregation. For example twelve year old Knot Crews attends the same school as the white kids, but never talks to any of them for fear of reprisal.

As another boring hot summer draws to an end, Knot observes the local cops chasing after a bank robber. The thief drops is sack of cash while fleeing the scene, but only Knot notices the bag as the cops focus on the felon. He picks it up and opens it. Inside is 1000 one hundred dollar bills. Not a fool he knows he cannot spend the loot as no one would believe a black kid had even a solo hundred dollar bill though he wishes he could as he goes hungry too often; his single mom spends more on booze than him. However, he feels he can help his even more impoverish neighbors. The young Good Samaritan begins anonymously mailing money to the downtrodden. However, to his shock the cash is not spent in necessities but on luxuries like TVs and liquor; though a few battered women of both colors use the money to escape with their kids from abusive relationships.

This is an intriguing historical coming of age tale that contains several life lessons for the reader (high school age and above) and definitely for Knot. He keeps the insightful story line focused as he tries to do what he believes is the right thing with his income redistribution plan. With a strong spotlight in mid 1960s Georgia, The Little Known is a fascinating slice of Southern life from a bygone era, but the generalizations apply anywhere.

Harriet Klausner

No comments: