The End of the Line. Jim Power.
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
This is a romance, but with so many more themes. The race one of course, but also the issue of the moneyed classes versus those with little, the background of slavery and the battle for human rights, even how people are treated too often by big businesses when they’re injured.
Its not a quick read novel, but one packed with content and odd moments of humour – the dates Latesha arranges for Peter – I loved those! The romance between them that ultimately develops is stuttering, pushed along by Peter despite her reluctance. Oddly to begin we see the race issue from the other side, with her father and the people where she lives, a black community, that have the hatred for Peter because he’s white. Later when his mother hears about them she shows the conventional viewpoint. I’m very anti all discrimination, and find it so odd that someone can be judged on colour, and yet despite the advances in law its still pervades from all sides. In this book though Jim uses the two young people to show how attitudes can change, slowly for some, quicker for others and sadly not at all for too many.
I did feel that some of it was a bit too slick, Peter’s mother for example. I felt she’d have held to her beliefs far longer, and Latesha’s father too. They were so entrenched, so irrational in their hatred of race, that it would take a lot to change their views. I loved the way the story showed how its not just a black v white issue, but that discrimination comes from everywhere, from all sides, and that often white people will help black and black help white simply because its the right thing to do. Even if that help may cost them their lives, and they don’t know the people they are helping.
Stories like that are historically correct, and we need to remember them, when we’re still faced with that awful, creeping, pervading issue of colour. Or any discrimination. As a child I was very dark skinned even though I’m English, and was teased often for my colour. Then with a name like I have now, I’ve seen it from those who assume my family are coloured. At five years old my eldest son who has dark toned skin like myself, lost a friend because the boy’s parents had seen him, learned the name and assumed we were foreign. Horrible thing to happen but its real, and people face it daily. This book shows it so true to life, and is heartening that it also shows hope, that there are people prepared to make changes.
Its an enjoyable read, not one I’d re read, but very realistic apart from the points I mentioned about the parents. I loved the way so many events were woven in, and became integral to the story, the background slave issue and the Door and it’s history, the ballerinas and their love for the tradition it had brought, Peter’s willingness to help for free, and the friends it gradually won round, the way the community slowly pulled together accepting him ( well most of them), Mr Thomas disability and wheelchair use ( I’m a wheelchair user ), the assumed snobbery of the Club when in fact they were very integrated. So much to like in here, but its more a look at life and romance than a heart stopping, furious love story. Its priced at £4.45 for 294 pages.
ARC supplied via author