"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Friday, January 22, 2021

Review and quotes: KENT STATE


Title:
Kent State by Deborah Wiles

Book Beginnings:


Friday56 (actually page 32):


Summary: On May 4, 1970 National Guard soldiers shot and killed four students of Kent State University who were protesting the Vietnam War. As protestors agitated and called for the end of the war, Guardsmen were called in and in the confusion and chaos of the moment, shots were fired. Four students were killed and many others were wounded. To this day no one can agree on exactly what happened and why the protest took such a violent turn. Deborah Wiles attempts to answer that question by imagining voices from different vantage points: a protestor, the townspeople, the guardsmen, and students. Like a Greek chorus all the voices tell the story of the tragic day from different points of view.

Review: I was thirteen when the Kent State killings occurred. I was old enough to be outraged. Everyone I knew was opposed to the Vietnam War. There were protests on college campuses all over the country. What made Kent State's protest any different? I wasn't old enough or sophisticated enough at the time to dig for more details than what the news reported. But like everyone in my generation started singing the song "Ohio" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. I knew enough facts to be angry and if anything the killings made me and others hate the war even more. 

So when I saw this book, Kent State by Deborah Wiles, I thought I already knew the facts. I was wrong. I learned many things I didn't know about that fateful day. As I said in the summary, the book is about and the days leading up to May 4th as told by a variety of vantage points. If you look at the first and the 32nd page samples provided you will notice the differences in fonts and placement on the page. That is the only way you can tell who is speaking. It took me several pages to figure it out, too. I don't recall there being any directions as to what font or page location belonged to whom. The protestor was angry, the townspeople were scared, the guardsmen were following orders, some students were outraged, others oblivious. The totality of their voices made for a dynamic and a believable account of the tragedy.

I like reading books written in verse and after I settled in to the odd format of this one I found the reading experience to be quite captivating. But as I closed the book on the last page the thought ran through my head that students might not be willing to work so hard to figure out who is speaking and to see the need to tell a historical event from so many points of view. I'd love to know what experiences librarians have had with this book and their readers.

I read this book back in July 2020 and with this review will be completing my own personal challenge to catch up on back reviews. It took me a while, but I did it. (And now I should start a new list of past reviews I still want to write.) [Pending reviews]

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rose City ReaderShare the opening quote from current book.
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e Friday56 is hosted at Freda's VoiceFind a quote from page 56 to share. 

Visit these two websites to participate. Click on links to read quotes from books other people are reading. It is a great way to make blog friends and to get suggestions for new reading material.   
   

-Anne

16 comments:

  1. I think I'd like to try this one and now that I know the fonts are relevant, I'll pay attention to them to hear each voice. Kent State is something I don't know enough about.

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  2. I don't know a whole lot about the Kent State shooting, but oh gosh, that first page! It gets you in the feels right away. I noticed the switching font styles for different speakers, but I wasn't sure which speakers were which. I'm super curious about this one now, and I'll have to see if my library has a copy! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yes, check your library. Now that you know about the font and placement on the page it should be less confusing.

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  3. I will never forget that day! I was in college at the time, and as a result of the Kent State killings, I became a protestor and joined others pitching our tents outside the student union.

    I don't know if I could enjoy that writing style, though. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. OMG what a horrible experience. The anger was palpable toward the government.

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  4. Such a sad day in our history. I felt my innocence chip away that day.

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  5. I am quickly adding this book on my TBR. I need to read this book soon! Thank you so much for sharing! ����

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  6. What an interesting book. I was 11 at the time. A horrible day. This must be a fascinating book.

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  7. This sounds like a fascinating read. Those excerpts really tug at my heartstrings. I'll have to see if my library has it. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. I sat down with this and its incredibly well written. It deserves all the recognition.

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  9. This sounds intriguing. I know very little about what happened at Kent State - I wasn't quite two at the time. I'll have to pick this one up.

    And thanks for stopping by my blog!

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  10. It sounds like a good idea and an important book, but one I don't think I would have the patience for. My lawyer brain doesn't deal well with a format like this, I'm afraid.

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  11. This sounds like a powerful book. This one really intrigues me, especially given the different voices the author tries to capture. And I love that it's written in verse. I am adding this to my wish list. I hope you have a great weekend!

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