Monday 5 March 2018

The Other Side of Freedom - Cynthia T. Toney

The Other Side of Freedom
Cynthia T. Toney
Write Integrity Press
ISBN 9781944120399

This was the fourth book by Cynthia T. Toney that I have read in the last year. The other three are from the Bird Face series about life in modern high school. And as much as I liked those books, I really loved this one. This book is completely different. It is historical fiction and set in the southern United States, in the 1920's. This middle grade novel is an amazing read for young readers, teens and even adults willing to give it a short. 

This is a very moving book. It draws upon emptions, prejudices, and the political climate of a very different time. As a Canadian reading about the deep south is as foreign as reading about continental Europe. But that does not mean that I cannot read and learn from that reading. This is the primarily a story about Sal Scavianos, a young man, coming of age, in a close-knit Italian immigrant family. Sal is just 13 but he does well in school and works hard on the family farm. The family has worked hard to build their farm, and the family business selling their produce ad products. In Freedom Louisiana it took time and challenging work for them to succeed. But thing start to go off track when Sal notices some strangers in fancy suits talking to his father. Sal faces some very tough decisions, decisions that could have life and death consequences. Consequences for himself, his family, and the young woman he is interested in. 

In this story family history and expectations from the family's ethnic group play a major role in the story line. Sal is put in a very difficult place. And things look bleak for his family. And yet he needs to make a decision that will have lasting consequences because it is what he believes is the best path forward.

This book really made me think. It made me think about the immigrants in my own family tree, coming from Ireland and Scotland. It also made me think about the prejudices people experience. Both in the past and also today. The story is powerful. It evokes strong emotions in readers. I could hardly put the book down. In many ways this is a classic story of Good vs Evil, but with a young man facing choice that will make him an unknown hero; or bring ruin to all he knows and hold dear. 

A story tat leaves me thinking about it days weeks after I finish reading it is a story that I believe is masterfully written. This is one such book. I cannot wait until my youngest are a little older to read it with them and am currently reading it a second time with my oldest. As such it has my seal of approval for the whole family!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!


Unknown said...

Thank you for reviewing The Other Side of Freedom, Steven. Your reviews are always so thorough and insightful. Authors appreciate you.

Viktor66 said...

Hmm,I Like your Books?!!