Monday, October 21, 2013

#BookReview: Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli

Opening with a middle of the night escape from an intolerant town, we first see 11 year old Ella McGhee on a bus from Washington, DC heading to Georgia. A miscommunication leads to a missed connection and Ella finds herself fending off strangers until help arrives in the form of an elderly woman. This is really where the story begins, and though the book blurb leads us to believe Glow is about Ella and her mother, Amelia, it’s really about everyone but them.

I love books that include family trees, especially in instances where the book spans multi-generations. I found myself referring back to it often, trying to keep track of whom the author was speaking about throughout. I’m still not convinced that I kept everyone straight though.

Glow tells the stories of Amelia’s maternal and paternal sides of the family, which includes white, black and Native American ancestors.  The lives of the family members are intertwined.  Their stories are much more interesting than what's happening in the present in the book.  But like I said, the author tries to cover so many people and so many stories, that it's hard to keep them straight.

Tuccelli seems to want to make a connection between Amelia's activism and that of her ancestors, but falls short.  Not enough time is spent tying her back to her history to give readers a sense of how she became the person that she is.  I think time would have been better spent simply writing about the earlier generations and completely removing the Amelia and Ella connections.

Published: March 2012
Disclaimer: Copy received from publisher, opinions are my own.

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