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triumph in spite of life’s many obstacles, twists, bumps, and curves.
The Search For Freedom
– Ma had prayed and waited and prayed a lifetime for one dream – to
witness one of her own get their freedom. To Ma, the day you finished
your schooling was the day you were free. With four grandchildren set to
graduate like stair steps, nothing seemed to be standing in the way. But on
a cloudy Saturday evening, tragedy strikes, leaving one grandson
dead, one running from police, one granddaughter emotionally
shattered, and Ma praying for her one last hope – Lori.
– Nothing could have prepared Lori for the struggles she would face on her
journey to fulfill Ma’s dream – sibling rivalry, turbulent race relations,
learning to accept responsibility for unwise decisions, and positive ways to
tackle the plethora of life challenges by choosing first to understand
differences rather than judge. But just when Lori thought the worst was
over, the worst was yet to come. On a beautiful Saturday evening, three days
before Ma’s dream would cease being a dream, the unbelievable happens.
This fictionalized autobiography is a paean to the support that a loving
mentor can provide.
The main character, Lori, is being raised by her grandparents. Her
grandmother offers guidance and stories of past racial injustices and
recent improvements; all this helps Lori when she becomes one of the first
African American students to attend a previously all-white high school.
Lori is smart and a good student, but she is not welcome and within the
first year she is expelled. The local African American community fights
for her reinstatement. Although the terms of her readmission are
distasteful, Lori understands the lessons Ma has taught her.
The novel focuses on Lori’s growth, but it also contains a warm, rich
picture of her family and the African American community in a rural North
UNC-Chapel Hill - 2009
When your book, Stay The Course, arrived, I began reading it right away. I
found that by simply listening to the words in my head as I read along, I
could ignore unfamiliar word choices and simply savor the beautiful
colloquial language. The language was quite proper for the story being
told. Ma, Deddi, Lori and the rest of them were live people whose actions
and language were suited to their characters. And you made them people
about whom I cared. It was very obvious that you modeled them on those you
knew and loved.
Thus, the reader also loves
them. I finished the book with tears in my eyes. I think love makes your
storytelling successful. Stay The Course, told in the first person, a
Eddie Duggan, Alexandria, Virginia
I am a reading enrichment teacher. My class is enjoying reading, Stay The
Course. They are asking lots of questions, and they have lots of good
ideas on what the characters should have done. I am only at this
particular school twice weekly, but the students in Class 15 (Ms.
Hendrix's class) are learning a lot about segregation. I have already told
them that you have another book coming out.
Uzal Daniels, Los Angeles, California
Copyright, 2010 E.D. Arrington