Saturday, August 22, 2009

In the Land of Cotton by Martha A. Taylor

Copyright: 2009
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 256
Challenges: Non-Fiction 5
New-to-me author? Yes
Author's website (sorry- couldn't find it)

Simple Description
This is the story about the author, Martha Taylor, growing up in the South during the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam war. The story starts out in 1956 and continues through the 60's. What makes her story different from a lot of other folks is that she loved a black man/boy. They met when she was 11. His Aunt was the domestic help employed in Martha's home. Martha soon came to love Lucy Boyd, the aunt, and was upset when she was no longer employed. Once day Martha saw Lucy walking home and the next chance she got she followed her. She found that Lucy lived with her extended family in a set of groves in the forest. They didn't have indoor plumbing or electricity, but they had family and that was all they needed. It was here that Martha met Silas. It was here that they formed a deep friendship that soon turned to love.

Martha used to spend her weekends at the Grove, without her family knowing. Then one day she is told that her parents are moving them to Texas. Martha is deeply upset by this because she doesn't want to leave the Boyd Family. Lucky Lucy comes up with a plan where they can talk on the phone once a week. Martha is also able to visit the family while her parents are visiting friends and relatives around the holidays.

Soon Silas decides to join the military. Unfortunately this is around the time that the US is getting involved with Vietnam. He doesn't really believe there will be a war and thinks he will be safe, but as we know that's not the case. Soon he is out of training and fighting in Vietnam. Martha and Silas still keep in touch as much as possible.

While all this is going on, of course we have the Civil Rights movement happening. The different things happening with the Civil Rights are intertwined with this love story.

Now what you really want to know…my thoughts:
I will say that I had some issues with the book but at the same time I ended up really liking it and think it's worth the read. I will admit to crying towards the end, and as many of you know, my thoughts are that if a book can make you cry, it's well worth the read.

Some of my issues are with the grammar and the writing. I found several errors in the book that I feel should have been caught and fixed. Did this ruin the book for me though? No, just found it annoying. I also thought the dialogue between people was weird, but then when I had my DUH moment and remembered this was non-fiction, it didn't bother me as much. And by weird, I found it was kinda formal and not at all what I imagine they actually talked like. I suppose I could be wrong was a different time. that's done. Now…I still recommend the book and this is why. You get captivated with the story! You want to know what is going to happen between Martha and Silas. Will the race issues become too much? Will her family find out and put a stop to it? Will something happen to the Boyds? How will it end? Yeah, the book took me longer than expected to finish but that wasn't due to the book..more just being busy in real life. If I could have sat down and read more I would have. I loved how the author included the entire letters shared between her and Silas. I loved how she included the actual speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King and others. I loved reading this forbidden love story woven between things that were happening in the US. I think this book really just put things in perspective for me. It's one thing to read a love story, it's another thing to read about the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam war, it's yet another to read about all of them and how they effected the people. For me, I didn't grow up during this time, I wasn't even alive. So it was a refreshing look at how things were. While reading it I thought about the War Through the Generations challenge I'm working on and can't wait to get to the Vietnam war, whenever that will be. This is a war I don't read much about it, I focus on WWII, but I also don't read many reviews. So whenever this war makes it to that challenge..I think this book would qualify and be a good one to choose.

I do wish that the author had included pictures of the different people..I think that would have been super cool – but I can't really complain about it (I guess.).

So do I think some of my readers will like this book? Yeah, I do. I think some will like it right away, I think some will be bothered by the grammer issues and not get far, I think others will think it is just so-so. I do think that if the story is even a little interesting to you, that it's worth finding a copy and trying it out to see how you like it.

Have you reviewed this book on your blog? Leave me a comment to let me know and I'll link it below.

Sorry, no linked reviews yet.

Happy Reading and thanks for stopping by……Kris


bermudaonion said...

This sounds like a story that needed to be told, but could have used a better editor. Still, I'd like to read it.

BookAddict said...

This sounds like one I would like.

Unknown said...

Bermudaonion - you summed it up better than I did. haha!

BookAddict - I bet you would.

Martha Taylor said...

Hey Kris..I must have sent you a proof copy. I know I was anxious to read your comments. Copies printed after July are edited. Thanks so much for your kind words. I am so glad you enjoyed Cotton.

Unknown said...

Martha - I bet you are right! I couldn't find anything on the book that said that but I'm sure you are right.

Carole's Book Corner said...

Hello Kris .... I really enjoyed reading your review! I have also just read and reviewed this moving story and would love you (or anyone else!) to take a quick look on Carole's Book Blog.
Thank You!