Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Moody Publishers for an honest review.
Son of a Preacherman by Marlene Banks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
“Hatred? Narrow minds? Fear?… Racism has surely shown its ugly head in Tulsa tonight.”
The simmering societal unrest in Son of a Preacherman eventually rises and explodes into the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. As this novel’s both fitting and telling book cover promises, author Marlene Banks takes the reader right into the social, domestic, economic, political, and racial climate of the prosperous Greenwood District in northern Tulsa and Eagles Pointe County in Oklahoma. As Banks is careful not to limit the racial and cultural issues and hardships in the region to Negroes only, also including Native Americans, Mexicans, and even Jews into the narrative, she broadens the picture of humanity in the novel. The horrific occurrence in Tulsa isn’t only a black and white story, but it’s an unfortunate part of the human story.
The parts of the book unrelated to the coming riot I didn’t find as compelling, and the characters didn’t quite grow on me. The frequency with which many of them kept getting into arguments, familial and otherwise, threatening and insulting one another, had a wearying effect on me, a number of the insults and accusations becoming repetitive. While Billy Ray had encouraging words at the right times, I wasn’t drawn into his romance with Benny, likely because she was in a negative state the majority of the time. Since she was often either in tears, brooding, or bickering with someone, she didn’t turn out to be an engaging romantic character to me or a heroine who held my concern.
However, as the author, overall, paints a picture of the results of hatred but still makes way for faith, forgiveness, and resilience, this novel not only serves as a reminder of an unfortunate past but also as an impetus of hope to build, and to keep building, a better future.
Note to my blog readers: this novel contains some violent and gruesome scenes, both related and unrelated to the Tulsa Race Riot.