20 November 2009

Finding My Place; Tracie L. Jones

Finding My Place Finding My Place by Traci L. Jones
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Yet another in the "girl starts at a new school/grade/town" genre; the twist this time being that she's Afro-American (in the 70s) and she's just moved to an all-white neighborhood. So her family, while fitting in in terms of economic status, is *not* like the other families - her parents sat-in at lunch counters, and they have high expectations for Tiphanie (pronounced Tiffany).

Years ago I read Mary Jane, another story about a black girl integrating a school. Because this one was written far closer to the time, the language and situations rang truer to me; in one passage Tip talks about her name and how her parents were at the forefront of the movement that altered spellings of names. I'm not sure that any teen in the 70s would be aware that this was going to be a lasting movement - to me that feels like a revelation that would come later in life, something one might say in one's 30s (although I could believe that there might be some teenaged eyerolling about the strange spelling and being embarrassed about having to explain her name to people).

There were many such moments, ones that felt as though either Tip was preternaturally aware of what would happen in the future and could comment on it in the past or language that felt more modern than the time in which the book is set. On the other hand, Tip's sense of being alone, of trying to fit in and her friendship with Jackie Sue do feel real.

ARC provided by publisher.

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1 comment:

  1. I have an interest in reading this novel. It's annoying though when characters who are supposed to be teenagers, seem to be looking back as adults or are wiser beyond their years. at least it's historical fiction finally set in a different time-period, after the civil rights movement instead of during the civil rights movement or slavery. We need more diverse topics and people in historical fiction (sorry didn't mean to go off on a tangent).
    Thanks for this great review.