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Guardian by Julius Lester


by Julius Lester

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Guardian is haunting. The story is extremely well written. It is both descriptive and so raw that it is uncomfortable to read. That is what I liked about it. The book addresses social issues and mature themes (rape, lynching). Highly recommended as a must-read for teens and adults.

Pros: Your emotions and your thinking will be stretched in new directions as you walk alongside Ansel and Willie in this powerful novel.

There's more to our review. Visit the The Reading Tub® to see why we recommend this book. You can add your review, too.
  TheReadingTub | Jan 4, 2016 |
This not a feel good novel by any means. It tells it like it was in the South. Where ppl were still referred to as the "N" word and other ppl could control their fate at the drop of a hat. It is sad, but it is history. This would be a good book to read in high school while studying that time period. It is a short/quick read and is easy to understand. ( )
  WickedWoWestwood | Apr 20, 2013 |
This slim book demonstrates the devastation that a lie of omission can create in a family. Ansel and his father come upon a murdered girl’s body and allow another to be accused, knowing who really did it. What followers is a horrible lynching. Ansel’s loss of respect for his father changes his life forever.

Powerful book. Statistics at the end give the tragic data of lynching in the U.S. ( )
  readingbeader | Oct 10, 2012 |
Loved this book. It was a quick read with a powerful message. I recommended this for a middle school group read. Provides lots of thought-provoking discussion. Themes of friendship and integrity combine with the darker side of black history to pack a punch! ( )
  SLeeD | Mar 31, 2011 |
This book discusses an important but disturbing piece of American history – racially inspired mob lynching in the 1940s South. The book takes on the perspective of several people living in a small town where a shocking and violent rape results in an innocent man’s life being taken. I admire the author tackling such a weighty issue, but I had two major problems with this book. The first is that the slim book focuses on less than a week’s worth of time, and I feel like the characters and writing style both suffer from this. Instead of letting the characters have time to develop, the author has to just come out and say what the characters are supposed to be like – i.e., he is evil, he is good, he is scared, etc. – rather than show this through a more elaborate unfolding of the major characters. As a consequence, the reader never really feels like the characters could be real people (instead of caricatures) and can’t feel connected with the characters. The second problem I had is with the writing style. For much of the book, it feels almost like the author is writing stage directions rather than a novel. In addition, I didn’t particularly like the way the omniscient narrator jumps back and forth between the past, present, and future within a sentence or a paragraph. (For instance, note the discontinuity in this paragraph: “As the Reverend walks back into the crowd, people eagerly step forward to shake his hand, pat him on the back, express their condolences over his loss. Many of them will think back on this night when, the very next summer, the Reverend is caught with one of the girls from the Junior Choir, which is what had happened in Atlanta. The Reverend and his wife were barely given time to pack before they left Davis. No one knew where he went, and no one cared.” – p. 87). Personally, I also felt like many of the situations in this book were more adult than young adult in nature. Honestly, the best part of the book for me was the historical facts included in the back of the book. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Feb 20, 2010 |
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Trees remember. They talk among themselves about "the winter of sixty-two when the snow was so heavy it broke limbs on the Father oak tree in the church cemetery. We were worried he might not survive." "And what about the summer it hardly rained and we had to send our roots deep into the earth to find water?" they reminisce. But some trees do not speak, not even to the birds that find delicious insects hidden beneath their bark, not even to the birds building nests on their branches thick with leaves. These are the old trees whose ponderous, arching branches create cool shade. They do not speak because they are ashamed. At least ones in the South are. They were used for evil. Even though they could not defend themselves, they are still ashamed. Sometimes when the wind caresses their leaves, they whisper to the breezes, telling them what they have seen and heard, telling those invisible messengers how they were used as accomplices in evil. The wind can listen for only so long to such painful memories. To ride itself of the horror threaded into the bark and rings of the trees, the wind goes high into the sky where it can expel the suffering of the trees without hurting anything or anyone. But there are times when a tree can no longer withstand the pain inflicted on it, and the wind will take pity on that tree and topple it over in a mighty storm. All the other trees who witnessed the evil look down upon the fallen tree with envy. They pray for the day when a wind will end their suffering. I pray for the day when God will end mine.
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In a rural southern town in 1946, a white man and his son witness the lynching of an innocent black man. Includes historical note on lynching.

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