Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Book Review: Alligator Bayou by Donna Jo Napoli

Calogero lives with his uncles and cousins in a small town in Louisiana where they run a fruit and vegetable store and a stand. They provide a needed alternative to the company stores, but they're not totally accepted by the white townfolk because they're Sicilian. They can't interact with African-Americans either, lest they give people another reason to turn against them. Calogero is lucky enough to have a tutor who teaches him english, while he absorbs his new surroundings. He's sweet on an African-American girl, Patricia. Eventually, things come to a violent head amidst rumors of attempted murder. The author used a real incident as a basis for her novel. Sicilian immigrants were lynched in the South just for being who they were around the turn of the 20th century. This is one sad story, but I'm glad Ms. Napoli told it.

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