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Have No Shame by Melissa Foster
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Have No Shame

by Melissa Foster

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Showing 5 of 5
Have No Shame is a compelling read. Alison is the main character she is eighteen years old. It is 1967 and after she finds a dead coloured man washed up at the river it changes her racist and bigatory views which she had been brainwashed into to, of coloured people for the better. Of course this man is someones father.

The small town in which they live are separated whites and blacks, her boyfriend thinks it’s fun to beat up a coloured boy because of this colour. Alison feels it is wrong but trying to stop him just doesn’t work.

She befriends Jackson who is coloured and their love for each other is amazing, but it is also very dangerous with the white people being racist.

I really enjoyed this book. It is true to life of what was happening back in the 60′s and in some cases even now. It gives you food for thought.

Fantastic book from a fantastic author. ( )
  StressedRach | Jun 28, 2013 |
I still do not understand what it was like for anyone in the 50's and 60's. I can't imagine living in a world that is so blatantly against giving everyone the same chances. Not that we live in a world of equality now, but I know that in general things have taken a step in the right direction. But when I read stories about that time period it all seems so foreign to me. I enjoy the stories and I like the characters, I just seem to forget that these stories take place in America not so long ago. Even though I had to keep reminding myself that all the events in this book could have really happened - they wouldn't have been out of place - I did still connect to the story. It was quite the emotional journey.

Allison, or "Pix" is the main character of the story. She's 18 years old and living in the same world she's always lived it - she doesn't know any different to really question what is going on around her. Finding the body of a black man floating in the river is just the start of her journey. This one event starts to open her eyes ever so slightly. She'd never been exposed to anything that would make her question her beliefs. But as she learns that the world outside of Forest Town is changing she begins to see the injustices that are taking place in front of her eyes. Her world is changing both from the outside and the inside. The problem I think she has is that there are so many strong influences on her life that she's never been able to really think for herself. But as she starts to understand what's going on her and she begins to grow-up she gets a grip on what her morals and beliefs are - not what others want her to believe. Watching her transformation was interesting. Even if the events that are major moments in that change are a bit difficult to read about.

One feature that I really liked about this book is that it's presented in two different dialects. When I opened the file on my ereader I was given the choice of reading the story "With Southern Dialect" or "Without Southern Dialect". I thought that was a pretty interesting idea. I started the book with the southern dialect and finished it without just to see if I noticed any big differences. I think that because I started it in the southern dialect that by the time I switched I was so used to reading everything with a drawl that my brain just continued on with it. But it was a neat little feature and once I went back and re-read some of the chapters in each dialect I noticed slight differences.

Overall I really enjoyed the story. It was touching and endearing. I enjoyed taking Pix's journey with her to discover who she was and what she believed in. She's also learning how to love because she's in love - not because it's what is expected of her. So many great aspects to the story. I am going to look for more of Melissa Foster's work in the future - very enjoyable.

I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for a review. This review is my truthful honest opinion. ( )
  Justjenniferreading | Jun 14, 2013 |
I was really surprised at the beginning of the book by the author giving the reader the option of reading the book with or without the southern dialect in the narrative, this is the first time I have come across this and truly appreciated the thoughtfulness. I chose to read the book without the southern dialect. The main story almost started immediately and the author's style of writing really brought the story and the characters alive. I was so drawn to the storyline that I found the book very hard to put down. I am quite a slow reader normally but actually read this book in three days which is quite a record for me, I just could not stop turning those pages!

Alison is only 18 and has been sheltered and protected all her life by her domineering father who she absolutely adores. For years she has had deep rooted beliefs drilled into her and more importantly that she has learnt 'her place' in life. She has lived all her life in a segregated world of whites and coloureds, the coloured people worked on her father's farm or lived in the town, they did not deserve to be spoken to or even be acknowledged, that was the norm. She has never had to question these beliefs and considered them the natural way to live until one day she finds a coloured man's body, Byron Bingham, laying dead and well beaten in the river. Unbeknownst to Alison at the time, this event will turn her life upside down and inside out.

Alison cannot help but question why this has happened and just how this tragedy must have affected the dead man's family. She begins to feel shame and disgust for the way she, as well as others, have behaved towards the coloured people in her town and even starts to hate her fiance Jimmy Lee, who finds the chasing and beating of coloured's entertainment, he even let's her younger brother join in on the so called fun. What is more, Maggie her older sister who schools away in New York, knows of a different world where whites and coloureds integrate well and starts to open her eyes to a whole new world.

Still engaged and planning her wedding, she meets kind and gentle Jackson, her soul partner whose soft love she falls deeply for but cannot allow her true love of a coloured man to continue for fear of what would happen to Jackson and the possibility of losing her father's love completely.

The book will have you hooked as you follow the tense rollercoaster story and the shocking and chaotic civil right era along with the sympathisers who help to try and make it a fairer and safer place to live for everyone. I could have read so much more about Alison and Jackson's relationship, it was so beautiful.

This is quite a powerful and emotional story that at times made me feel pain, sadness and even anger at the way life was so different then and how people were treated so horrendously. Yet the story is written in such a wonderful way that there is also so much beauty, love and respect that it will really pull on your heart. I felt myself wanting to shout out to Alison but had to remind myself that her world was completely different to the world we now take for granted and decisions could not be taken at will.

Truly a highly recommended emotive read that won't just leave you after you have turned the last page. It will certainly leave you wanting more and I cannot wait to read much more from this author. ( )
  beckvalleybooks | Jun 14, 2013 |
I don't usually read dramatic works of fiction like Have No Shame. I do like books on history but usually from WWII or earlier. Have No Shame will have you wanting to yell at some of the characters saying, "Wake up and smell the coffee." In the height of Civil Rights many white people grew up ina very sheltered life where they never questioned the racist actions around them. In the late '60's many parts of the country had not gotten rid of segregation, even though, blacks and whites were fighting next to each other in the Vietnam War.

Melissa Foster does a wonderful job of making you feel like you are back in time. I was so enthralled in the book that my husband made fun of me when he caught me reading the book while brushing my teeth. I just couldn't put the book down. I felt like I was there. It is so hard to defy traditions and your parents, especially if you are a Daddy's girl. I can't imagine going through this time period in such a racist era. When Alison sees through that thin veil, she realizes how she has unconsciously treated the blacks in her area, and realizes that they are people with feelings. The internal struggle she goes through is difficult and hard to reconcile with her father's beliefs. This was an extremely difficult period for all involved. It isn't always easy to stand up for your beliefs and to bring change.

I am not a very eloquent writer. All I can say is that Have No Shame is an extraordinary book. If you want to get a sense of what the late '60's were like in the south, then this is the perfect book. You will feel like you are in the midst of this turmoil. You feel the angst and conflicting emotions of a young white woman that comes to believe in equal right for all.

This book reminds me of other great books and movies dealing with Civil Rights and equality for all, like A Patch of Blue and The Help. I think this is (or should be) the next book destined to be turned into a blockbuster movie.

I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own. ( )
  KelliG | May 17, 2013 |
This novel is a powerful look at a small town in Arkansas, set in 1967. I was about the same age as Alison Tillman, the main character, but growing up in New England was almost a world away from her life.

Alison is a young woman, fairly sure of the path her life is going to take. She's engaged to Jimmy Lee Carlisle, her boyfriend since she was fifteen. She is having a few niggling doubts about her feelings for Jimmy, but this is the road she has chosen, and her parents are happy.

This town is, as most southern towns were in the sixties, very divided by race. No one ventured to the "colored" streets. If the blacks ventured into "white"areas they were considered fair game and beatings were not unusual. Her father is a farmer, hires "coloreds" to work the farm. He treats them fairly, doesn't beat them or act cruelly as long as they remember their station. Alison's life totally changed one day while walking, when she found the body of a black man brutally beaten to death floating by the shore. She soon questions everything in her life.

There is so much passion in this novel! Racial, a forbidden love, and the movement to change . The characters are strong, committed to their own beliefs. Some working for life to go on as it has, some to work with changing things forever. We get a peek into the crusaders in the movement for racial change, and a very frightening look at the KKK.

I have read all of Ms. Foster's best selling novels, and had the privilege of reading an ARC of this story. It is amazing, and perfect reading for someone trying to understand the racial movement in the sixties. There is a beautiful love story, and a family divided coming together. I recommend it to all.

I received this novel from the author for an honest review. No compensation was offered or accepted. ( )
  Pat.Egan.Fordyce | Apr 12, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 098905084X, Paperback)

The racially-charged prejudice of the deep South forces eighteen-year-old Alison Tillman to confront societal norms and her own beliefs when she discovers the body of a hate crime victim, and the specter of forbidden love turns her safe, comfortable world upside down.

Alison has called Forrest Town, Arkansas home for the past eighteen years. Her mother s Blue Bonnet meetings, her father toiling night and day on the family farm, and the division of life between the whites and the blacks are all Alison knows. The winter of 1967, just a few months before marrying her high school sweetheart, Alison finds the body of a black man floating in the river, and she begins to view her existence with new perspective. The oppression and hate of the south, the ugliness she once was able to avert her eyes from, now demands her attention.

When a secretive friendship with a young black man takes an unexpected romantic turn, Alison is forced to choose between her predetermined future, and the dangerous path that her heart yearns for.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:27 -0400)

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Melissa Foster is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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Melissa Foster chatted with LibraryThing members from Oct 1, 2009 to Oct 15, 2009. Read the chat.

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