My Review of "Dreamland Burning" by Jen Latham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Historical fiction. Based on a story that needs to be known...the race riot of 1921 in Tulsa, OK. But I had a hard time reading it. It took me a long time to get through it. The only book from my book club this summer that I didn't finish on time. It has a mystery component, I wanted to know what happened, and I felt like it was a story I shouldn't shy away from.
The story is well-written. I especially enjoyed the story arc of Will, the protagonist from 1921 and Rowan's, the protagonist from present day, parents. However, I am not enjoying a recent trend in fiction where the main characters switch back and forth as the narrators. It makes me, as the reader, do more work...keeping track of the individual characters and where they left off...instead of being able to get lost in the story. And maybe because I heard an interview with the author first, the book felt like it had been written as an issues book maybe a bit more than it would have if I hadn't.
However, it remains important, I believe, for me to still cringe through being reminded how horribly evil racism is and has been. I had trouble getting through this book, but it was a page turner for many others. The torture and terror of the African Americans in our country has been so horrid and it's not over yet. The reminder for me, in the form of this story, was important for me to get through. So I did, even though I had to push myself a bit.
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The hardback book of "Dreamland Burning" will now be available for sale at Paper & Ink Books for 50% of its retail price while supply lasts.
I would specifically recommend this book to someone in the role of teaching/influencing high school students.