I don’t give up on books easily. For me to cast a book aside takes a lot. I’m always trying to find something redeeming in what I read.
I picked this up in the clearance section of Half Price Books. That should have been my first clue.
47 by Walter Mosley
Little, Brown and Company, 2005
Courtesy of Amazon.com:
From School Library Journal
Grade 7-10–The intense, personal slave narrative of 14-year-old Forty-seven becomes allegorical when a mysterious runaway slave shows up at the Corinthian Plantation. Tall John, who believes there are no masters and no slaves, and who carries a yellow carpet bag of magical healing potions and futuristic devices, is both an inspiration and an enigma. He claims he has crossed galaxies and centuries and arrived by Sun Ship on Earth in 1832 to find the one chosen to continue the fight against the evil Calash. The brutal white overseer and the cruel slave owner are disguised Calash who must be defeated. Tall John inserts himself into Forty-seven’s daily life and gradually cedes to him immortality and the power, confidence, and courage to confront the Calash to break the chains of slavery. With confidence, determination, and craft, Tall John becomes Forty-seven’s alter ego, challenging him and inspiring him to see beyond slavery and fight for freedom. Time travel, shape-shifting, and intergalactic conflict add unusual, provocative elements to this story. And yet, well-drawn characters; lively dialogue filled with gritty, regional dialect; vivid descriptions; and poignant reflections ground it in harsh reality. Older readers will find the blend of realism, escapism, and science fiction intriguing.–Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC
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I just couldn’t do it. I did try. But I’d sit down to read, chew through a bunch of pages, and then realize I’d only read about 8 pages.
I couldn’t buy into this book. Sorry, School Library Journal. I just don’t agree. I DON’T “find the blend of realism, escapism, and science fiction intriguing.” And I am a fan of speculative fiction. This was just too out there, too far-fetched. I made it to the half-way point before I gave up; it didn’t show signs of improving.
Further, it felt like Mosley was just trying too hard to deliver his message about freedom. I do not like feeling like I’m being preached at. The way I see it, you can send your message, or you can smash it and grind the broken pieces into my hand. I’m going to enjoy one method a lot more than the other.
Sometimes you just have to walk away.