Friday, January 06, 2012

Color Struck by Pamela and Joel Tuck

Racial conflicts have torn families apart for centuries, whether it is as far back as the Civil War or Martin Luther King Jr.’s Civil Rights Movement. Color Struck by Pamela and Joel Tuck demonstrates the effects of prejudice in the Steele family, a problem in fifteen-year-old Renee Steele’s life to a problem color once caused for her grandmother. Renee loves her two older cousins, but as they grow older, they seem to bicker more and more. Pat, proud of her African heritage, is fed up with Cherie’s light-skinned friends and near abandonment of their culture, accusing her of thinking white people were better than they are. Cherie thinks Pat simply refuses to apply herself to her full potential. Poor Renee is caught in the middle, and she turns to their grandmother for help.

Grandma Bell is one of a kind. She is brave and loving and kind and firm. However, she didn’t get that way by accident. She had a hard time in the beginning of her marriage, the effect of her dark skin among prejudiced in-laws. Throughout the book, she tells Pat, Renee, and Cherie all about how she met their grandfather, and how she came to live with him and his parents, who hadn’t exactly taken a liking to her. In fact, they went out of their way to make things difficult. Yet Bell persevered, raising several fine children and even reaching a surprising status with her husband’s troublesome in-laws.

Color Struck was definitely an enjoyable read. Grandma Bell’s old-fashioned pluckiness makes her the most likeable character in the book, and her courage in the face of bigotry sets an example for people in a tight spot everywhere. The reader will feel like they have sat down next to their own grandmother as she recounts her younger years, instilling an almost nostalgic feeling in them, longing for their own story times with loved ones. Renee, on the other hand, felt like a bit of a weak character. She didn’t have anything to contribute to the stories and couldn’t help her cousins, nor did she have an opinion in their fight, altogether coming off wishy-washy. The other characters were also decent, though I must admit that I developed a certain fondness for Pat as well as Bell’s sister Hattie, both young girls set in their ways and daring enough to carry out elaborate plans.

The writing of the book was pleasant, although the dialect spoken by the characters was hard to follow at first. The modern day chapters seemed a lackluster, but the twists and turns of the story told by Grandma Bell made up for them in the long run. Grandma Bell’s descriptions of her life with her sisters in her younger years and of how she dealt with her thorny in-laws were particular bright spots. The in-laws were also formidable antagonists, not people one wants to meet, making it all the more impressive for Bell to deal with them so patiently. Over all, it was a nice read, nothing to rant about, but definitely a book that someone interested in historical fiction, or even just the simple triumphs of a human being, should pick up.

Content Rating: 1

Rating: 7

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Locust Valley, New York The United States of America