The Privileged by Renata Sterling

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.

The Privileged: A Short Story by Renata Sterling

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

In 1940 in the American South, there are privileges seventeen-year-old Helen Davis doesn’t have, due to the “drop or two of African blood” in her veins. But most people looking at her wouldn’t think she’s anything but white. And this winter, Helen wants to get a taste of what it’s like to be one of The Privileged, a short story by author Renata Sterling.

I enjoyed the half-hour or so it took me to read this. The story illustrates how “passing” comes with both advantages and (potentially dire) consequences for people of color whose color isn’t obvious.

While I like short reads, though, it seems this one essentially led me to a dead end, with no real moral to the story or a central message past the surface of the opening line. It’s apparent this isn’t so much a self-contained story but rather a setup for another book. Also, the writing style is a little awkward and simplistic, with minor grammar and punctuation errors.

Nevertheless, this read is about more than just a teenager’s adventure or the thrill of taking a risk. It’s clear that Helen has more to learn, so if I do find a book that continues her story later, I think it’d be interesting to read.


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