children's books, fiction, Middle Grade, reviews

Review: Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon

Zora and Me

  • Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon
  • 192 pages
  • Publication Date: October 12, 2010
  • Publisher: Candlewick
  • Source: Personal Library

Young Zora Neale Hurston can spin a story in a way that no one else can. Whether she’s talking about the pine tree that she loves so much or about gators that can turn into men, once you hear Zora’s stories the world looks different. Zora has a passion for storytelling and a curiosity to know all that she can. With best friends Carrie and Teddy, Zora explores their hometown of Eatonville, Florida which is the first all-black town to be incorporated. Things take a sinister turn when a body is found on the railroad tracks beheaded. Zora thinks she knows who committed the murder but what adult will believe her story of shape-shifting men?

What I really liked about this book is that the many storylines that are introduced in various parts of the story feel so authentic and blend together easily. There’s Zora and her stories, her best friend Carrie and her grief at the father who has abandoned his family, the murder of a drifter, the issues of passing and racism, along with figuring out who you really are in a world that wants you to stay in your place.

Zora’s curiosity about the world outside of Eatonville is something her mother understands. Her father wants her to stay in her “place” as a girl and an African-American. He thinks because she isn’t white, she doesn’t have a right to want the things that she desires. But Zora isn’t happy with that and in a suspenseful moment, she sticks up for herself even when the consequences could be painful.

Walking home later, I thought about the difference between a mama’s girl and a daddy’s girl. I decided that a daughter who belongs to her daddy expects gifts, while a daughter who belongs to her mama expects a lot more. Not from her mama. From herself.

My only complaint about this book is that it wasn’t enough description for me. I wanted to know exactly what Eatonville and the characters looked like. Other than that, I found Zora and Me to be a great read. Highly recommended.

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10 thoughts on “Review: Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon”

  1. I’ve been curious about this book but I haven’t yet decided if it’s for me. I may just look for a biography that has a fuller description of the town and its people.

  2. I have heard nothing but good things about the story. I really want to read it. I know what you mean about description though – it really helps to visualize while you read.

  3. I think some of the descriptions were left out because of the age group the book was targeted to. I would definitely like to read more about Eatonville after reading the book. Thanks for linking to me!

  4. I have been hearing great things about this book, and although it’s not one that I would normally read, I am now very curious about it. Your review was wonderful and makes me want to pick this one up when I can. Thanks for sharing your insightful thoughts!

  5. Wow, this book hasn’t made it onto my radar until just now. It looks great! I’ll keep an open mind on the description front. but otherwise looks fail-safe. :O)

  6. This sounds so interesting! I heart Hurston’s writing, and her life sounds fascinating (I tried reading a biography of her earlier this year, but it annoyed me so I gave up halfway through). I’m always wary of fiction that uses real people as characters, but I might have to give this a go!

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