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Little Sacrifices by Jamie Scott

Little Sacrifices

by Jamie Scott

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Little Sacrifices tells the story of May, she's the one telling the reader her tale as she looks back from years in the future. Her voice therefore is sometimes older than her younger self. That did not bother me as I was soon swept up in this story of a post Civil War but pre Civil Rights era Savannah. And Savannah is as much a character in the novel as any human. (It's a beautiful city now. I'm glad I didn't see it in its run down state.)

May is a transplant to the South, her father having been run out of his teaching position "up North" for his highly liberal, progressive views for the times. Both of her parents believed that ALL people, regardless of color, should be treated equally. Dangerous thoughts for the times and especially dangerous for Southern transplants. May is a brand new sophomore in high school so she is at that age where:

her parents can be very embarrassing
she wants desperately to fit in
her social conscious is awakening

Good times for May.

Intertwined within May's story is the tale of the former owner of the home into which she has moved, Mirabelle. May has found her diary and love letters in the attic and this leads May on a somewhat dangerous journey to answer some questions. This plotline, at least to me wasn't as fulfilling as May's - Mirabelle didn't completely come to life. I suppose because she remained a diary and some letters. The mystery though was a good one.

The little sacrifices that must be made for the greater good often turn into bigger sacrifices than anyone planned on or intended. I found May to be a delightful character and Little Sacrifices to be a thought provoking and enjoyable read. ( )
  BrokenTeepee | Sep 11, 2013 |
This story did take me a little bit longer than usual to get into. I was not exactly sure which direction the author was going to take the story. At first I was expecting a drama filled story of an unhappy teenager, running away from home and possibly getting caught up with an older man. But after the bus ride scene and the conversation that she had I was warming up to the idea of it being more like a historical coming of age story.

When May's family moves into the new house she soon discovers a journal that's been hidden of a woman who lived in the house around 1912. And we get alternating chapters between her story and May who is living there in the 1940's.

As the book takes place in Savannah, Georgia. It's told from two very different and evolving times in American History. With a huge focus on civil rights, the Ku Klux Klan and segregation in the South.

May's family moves from the North to Georgia. Which during this time period in our history had huge differences in the interactions between the races. The historical details that went into the novel were noticeably researched and greatly detailed. You can tell that there was a lot of time that went into writing the story.

With the weaving of the stories between the journal and the current time it was a nice change to go back and forth between times. Like most others have mentioned in their reviews, it's really the epilogue that pulls the story together nicely. It was a heavy (emotional) story and a great read. I ended up really loving the main character and her family. ( )
  Krista23 | Sep 6, 2012 |
Little Sacrifices is a coming of age novel that takes place in 1947 after WWII in Savannah, Georgia. The main character of the story is May who wants nothing more then to go back to her hometown. Her parents are 'free thinkers' and do not fit into the norm. May even calls them by their first names. She does not know anyone and she doesn't understand why they had to move in the first place. She does eventually make friends and finds her place in the town and school. There is an underlying story here too, May finds letters from a relative of her friend Jim. These two stories, even though decades apart, run parallel with each other. There is racial tension also as blacks in the south were definitely a minority with little rights. May was brought up believing that everyone is equal no matter the color so she finds the bigotry and segregation among the townspeople a bit hard to take. May also has some personal choices that she has to deal with and this all fits into a story about growing up and growing up in the south. I liked that at the end of the story, in the epilogue, that the author ties up all the loose ends and lets the reader know what happened to the characters in the story.
I really enjoyed this novel and definitely recommend it, an easy to read, well researched page turner. ( )
  celticlady53 | Aug 6, 2012 |
Absolute 5-star read!!

One short week ago, I ranted to my husband about not having come across a 4½ or 5-star read in far too long. Thank you, universe, for hearing my rant and offering up Jamie Scott’s absolutely excellent historical fiction novel, Little Sacrifices!

Set in 1940s Savannah, Georgia, Little Sacrifices follows the life of May and her parents as they relocate, under duress, from the North to the South. May’s parents are outspoken integrationists who have not only instilled their beliefs in their young daughter, but also often embarrass her in the course of their endeavors. In the beginning, for May, the South is hot, humid, and completely inexplicable. Thankfully, she meets Jim, the social outcast who lives next door and is more than willing to help May adjust and navigate the treacherous waters of segregated Savannah.

I can complain about nothing in this novel...AT ALL!! So, rather than gushing all over the place for several pages about the awesomeness of this read, I’ll hit you with the highlights.

*Scott has crafted a plot that is dramatic, gripping, heavy, historical, and incredibly interesting. Fair warning, reader: this plot is not easy as it is a fictionalized account, based on detailed research, of life in the segregated South, a full decade and half before the Civil Rights movement began. Throughout the narrative, an intense tension is always simmering just below the surface and, from time to time, it breaks through the surface.

*Because of the detailed research, the setting, atmosphere, and language feels very real and absolutely believable. The reader easily becomes immersed in May’s world. One of the hands-down highlights of this book is that you do get so completely immersed in this world, then are brought right back to reality by some seriously funny one-liner that you did not see coming. Scott clearly has a knack for breaking up the ever-present tension.

*As if the main plot weren’t enough, a secondary plot is instigated by May’s penchant for snooping. Periodically, full chapters are dedicated to the unfolding and unraveling of this secondary plot line. To be completely honest, I was absolutely taken in by this part of the novel and was thrilled to see how Scott was able to eventually bring the past and the present perfectly together.

*If I had to pick a favorite part of this novel (and I would be hard-pressed to do so), the characters would have to be it. Like the setting, plot, and everything else, the characters are fully developed entities with whom the reader can connect from the earliest moments of the book. I found myself empathizing with certain characters, laughing with them on occasion, and feeling their heartache a time or two. Being able to create such fully resolved and realistic characters in a single novel is truly a great skill for an author to possess.

*Finally, the epilogue is excellent. Who writes about the epilogue, right? Well, I do when it is as good as the rest of the book. Scott used her space in the epilogue as it should be used; nearly every character in the novel is covered in the epilogue. The reader will walk away with a great sense of closure.

Bottom line: Despite the tragic nature of the time and place, this historical fiction read is outstanding. The plot is intriguing, the characters are fantastic, and the writing style is so smooth and easy that it makes getting through this novel a breeze. I can unreservedly recommend this read to adults, but would caution recommending it to a young adult reader who is on the younger end of the spectrum.
P.S. for you chick lit fans out there, Jamie Scott just happens to the pen name of chick lit author Michele Gorman :) ( )
  arthistorychick | Jul 8, 2012 |
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