The Rock And The River by Kekla Magoon | Book Review

The Rock And The River by Kekla Magoon | Book ReviewThe Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon
Also by this author: Light It Up
Published by Simon and Schuster on January 6, 2009
Genres: Young Adult, Boys & Men, Social Themes, Prejudice & Racism, Family, Siblings
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
Source: Won In A Contest
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9781439153352
Goodreads
five-stars

In this “taut, eloquent first novel” (Booklist starred review) and winner of the Coretta Scott King–John Steptoe Award, a young Black boy wrestles with conflicting notions of revolution and family loyalty as he becomes involved with the Black Panthers in 1968 Chicago.
The Time: 1968 The Place: Chicago
For thirteen-year-old Sam it’s not easy being the son of known civil rights activist Roland Childs. Especially when his older (and best friend), Stick, begins to drift away from him for no apparent reason. And then it happens: Sam finds something that changes everything forever.
Sam has always had faith in his father, but when he finds literature about the Black Panthers under Stick’s bed, he’s not sure who to believe: his father or his best friend. Suddenly, nothing feels certain anymore.
Sam wants to believe that his father is right: You can effect change without using violence. But as time goes on, Sam grows weary of standing by and watching as his friends and family suffer at the hands of racism in their own community. Sam beings to explore the Panthers with Stick, but soon he’s involved in something far more serious—and more dangerous—than he could have ever predicted. Sam is faced with a difficult decision. Will he follow his father or his brother? His mind or his heart? The rock or the river?

I seriously cannot believe The Rock And The River by Kekla Magoon has been on my shelves for ten years, unread. You see, I won it in a contest but then just never got around to it. Lately though it has been a huge priority to read things I have and pass them along for further enjoyment by others. And I know everyone says this about books that have been on their shelves for awhile. But, I seriously cannot believe it has taken me THIS long to read this book, I should have read it sooner. And well, now I know I am a Kekla Magoon fan for life.

The Rock And The River is set in 1968 Chicago. It is about a thirteen year old boy named Sam. Sam is the son of prominent civil rights activist and lawyer Roland Childs. As the book opens, Sam’s father is speaking at a demonstration. Sam is over it, so he and his older brother Stick take off. Only, Stick is hurt by a white guy and so they have to go to the hospital for Stick to get stitches.

As the book moves forward, we see that Sam’s brother Stick is in favor of more direct action to obtain equality and civil rights. Stick joins the Black Panthers movement. This is at odds with Sam’s father who believes strongly in non violent protest. It comes to a head when Stick leaves home and Sam has to choose between his father and his brother.

Kekla Magoon’s The Rock And The River really had me in my feelings. The ending hit me like a ton of bricks. I won’t go into further depth because even though this book is over ten years old, I don’t want to spoil you. What I will say is that this is a brilliant exploration of when two ways of doing things are at odds with each other. This is a story of brothers and family. It’s also a story of how much sacrifice goes into obtaining civil rights. Although, we still aren’t fully there yet. Although this book is older, it is worth digging up from your TBR and diving into. I highly, highly recommend it.


five-stars
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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

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