What's Going On Here?

There are SO MANY wonderful book review blogs out there and I can't compete with them, that is for sure. So this is not a book review blog. This is just a way for me to organize what I have read so that I can be better at matching the right book to the right person. The blog title comes from the brilliant mind of the most talented woman who ever lived, Ms. Judy Garland. The full quote is, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else." That is what I hope to do here and in ever aspect of my life.

Monday, January 24, 2011


What a very, very fresh and unique novel The Other Side of Dark is.  I knew nothing of the Pinebank Mansion or of Thomas Handasyd Perkins until after reading this book, but that didn't stop me from being compelled to read it as quickly as I could.
The book is told from the perspective of two teens.  Law is a biracial young man, the son of a Harvard professor, a very powerful African American figure who is a huge supporter of reparations for African Americans (me too) and a white architectural historian.  Katie is a white young girl living with her step-father (her mom was killed by a man talking on his cell phone while driving and her father has been dead a long time).  Katie's unique gift?  is the ability to see ghosts, ala Odd Thomas.  The two are brought together because of Pinebank, the mansion of Thomas Handasyd Perkins who was a slave trader and also a philanthropist in Boston.  Law's mother is working with the group Friends of Pinebank to save the building, Law's father is working hard to move through with the demolition crew because of the mansion's tie to slavery.  It was fascinating to read how much of the story was true. Katie's tie to Pinebank is that the ghost named George, twenty-four when he died, a young man with Downs, who was given the task or guarding something hidden in Pinebank.  He went back in to save it when it caught fire and he died in the fire.  Now he haunts the remains of the building, still keeping watch over the object he was told to guard.  Katie wants to free him, and herself of these ghostly visions.  Law wants to figure out who he is, black or white or both.  There is a lot in here about the viciousness and ugliness, the hatefulness of slavery that you won't get in history books.  There's a lot in here about race relations and there's a lot in here about coming of age.  A wonderful, insightful, original story.  One cool thing was that Rev. Peter J. Gomes is mentioned in the book.  He is in attendance at one of the major events in the story.  Rev. Gomes is one of the greatest theologians of our time.  That was just a little random bonus comment!  So unlike me, huh?

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