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.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
While the Union and the Confederacy are warring against each other in America, President Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation. But Texans keep their enslaved laborers from hearing about it, a fact that will impact Luli Holcomb and the sister she never thought of as a slave in Come Juneteenth by author Ann Rinaldi.
Back in my teens, other novels by this author matured and sharpened my taste for historical fiction, especially concerning American history. So I decided to check this book out after finding it some weeks ago.
Knowing the kind of hard-hitting and poignant young adult stories Rinaldi can deliver, I probably should have been better prepared emotionally for this story of injustice, violence, and human relationships. Although my interest in the read waned here and there, the parts that got me, got me.
Now, it’s important to know this isn’t a story told from the perspective of Black characters, and it isn’t about a big Juneteenth celebration. Nor is it a simplistic, romantic painting of the Civil War and Reconstruction that depicts all white Yankees as completely good and noble and all white Southerners as completely wicked and backward. Rather, it’s a story of flawed human beings and what happens when you have to face where you, and other people in the place you fondly call home, have been profoundly wrong.
This is a tragic novel. Still, it has glimmers of hope for healing and learning from the past.