Deborah Johnson’s The Secret of Magic


The Secret of Magic

The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson | Jorie’s Store @ Amazon

 

Title: The Secret of Magic
Author: Deborah Johnson
ISBN: 9780399157721
Length: 416 pages
Publication Date: January 21, 2014
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Harris County Public Library

Goodreads

 Reasons for Reading: I either heard about or read something referring to this 2014 release. Given that we were planning a library program about African American History Month, I sought and requested this book via Harris County Public Library (HCPL).

Summary: Decorated African American World War II hero Joe Howard Wilson took the bus home to his native Revere, Mississippi. When expected to give up his seat for German POWs, Joe Howard refused. Later on, Joe Howard’s body is found. Fast forward to the Fall 1946 New York, the reader meets Regina Mary Robichard, a young attorney working for Thurgood Marshall at the NAACP. Regina discovers a letter from writer of the notorious The Secret of Magic, M.P. Calhoun, has called upon the NAACP for help in bringing Joe Howard’s killer to justice. With her childhood copy of The Secret of Magic practically in hand, Regina journeys down to Revere in order to discover what happened to Joe Howard.

One Thing I Learned from this book: Thurgood Marshall’s wife was called “Buster.” To learn more about the late Justice Marshall, click on the following link – Marshall, Thurgood – Facts on File History Database

What I Liked: Regina is an African American woman who was also an attorney. Author Deborah Johnson’s inspiration was Constance Baker Motley. I liked the tidbits about Marshall, too. Johnson’s writing is vivid and rich. Already, I was imagining who should play Regina, M.P. Calhoun, Joe Howard, and Marshall in the movie.

What I Disliked: A few parts dragged for me but this didn’t much eclipse my appreciation of the book.

RR - Yellow  Rainbow Rating: Yellow – Parental Guidance for Kids Under 13

 

Song: Cristine and Kathrine Shipp – Sea Lion Woman

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John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me


Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin | LibraryThing

(Last book review of books finished in 2012!)

Griffin, J. H., & Childs, R. (2004). Black like me. Middletown, Me.: Audio Bookshelf, LLC.

Reasons for Reading:Yet again, I sought another nonfiction eAudio work to entertain me during my work commute. I came across Black Like Me, checked it out from the HCPL Digital Media Catalog, and put it on my iPhone.

Summary: Texas Writer John Howard Griffin underwent a bold experiment like no other. He left his home in Mansfield, Texas with the intent to “pass as black.” With the help of a reticent New Orleans dermatologist, Griffin took a course of drugs, endured sunlamp treatments, and applied skin creams in order to understand the “black experience” firsthand. He also shaved his head and, later, his arms.

Then, he traveled through the Deep South as a black man. His social experiment altered the lives of many. Black Like Me is a journal of Griffin’s courageous experiment. The title comes from Langston Hughes’ “Dream Variations”

Rest at pale evening…

A tall slim tree…

Night coming tenderly

Black like me.

What I Liked: I appreciated what Griffin did. Also, I found Griffin to be a gifted writer who wanted to understand and help his fellow citizens. I liked that Griffin didn’t lie, either. He seemed to be an interesting and virtuous man.

What I Disliked:  Many versions of this book exist. I’m grateful I got an edition with an epilogue which Griffin wrote in the 1970s. As hindsight is 20/20, Griffin related the outcome of Black Like Me. It’s my feeling that this should be the version everyone reads.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Setting: Texas, New Orleans, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina

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