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The View from Delphi by Jonathan Odell
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The View from Delphi

by Jonathan Odell

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Set in Mississippi at the height of Jim Crow, The View from Delphi is one of those novels you will either love or hate. I purchased this book because I was on a high after finishing Odell's second book, The Healing. Even though The View from Delphi was a good story, I felt like it was missing something. I don't want this to be a comparison review between The View from Delphi and The Healing because in The Healing you can see how Odell has grown as a writer. After reading both, I can say again and again Jonathan Odell is definitely a master storyteller.

Hazel Graham and Vida Snow were an unlikely pair. Hazel Graham was white and rich while Vida Snow was black and also Hazel Graham's maid. They both had a common thread that eventually tied their hearts together, the loss of a son.

Hazel Ishee was born dirt poor and sort of an ugly duckling but she refused to become rooted in that life. Hazel developed a plan that launched her right into "town" and into the arms of a soldier, Floyd Graham. Floyd was an ambitious salesman whose lived by "positive thinking." Hazel and Floyd made a life for themselves in Delphi located in the Mississippi Delta.

Vida Snow was the only daughter of Levi Snow the favored black preacher of Delphi. Levi treated Vida like a princess calling her his "Snowflake Baby" and dressing her in all white. Vida fell from her pedestal when she was raped by a local white man, Billy Dean Brister. Regardless of the trauma that brought him to her Vida loved her son Nate. Billy Dean was on track to become the next Sheriff of Delphi and he was not about to allow anyone to stop it. He was especially not going to allow Vida and "their" son too.

Vida's every move was calculated towards getting revenge on Billy Dean. Hazel was so overcome with grief and insecurities that she turned to the bottle. Hazel's emotional distress landed her in the state hospital own two occasions. The one person that they both took for granted was a little boy named, Johnny. Johnny was the Graham's oldest son but yet not quite school age. Johnny was Vida and Hazel's redeemer because both had given up on Jesus a long time ago.

Delphi was a town that functioned off racism and good ol' boy politics but the climate was changing. Odell made the reader feel the oppressive racism of the town. He also made your heart hurt for a mother that couldn't see her own child because she was so plagued by her inner demons. Evil was personified in Billy Dean Brister. The view from Delphi is one that makes you want to cover your eyes. ( )
  pinkcrayon99 | Nov 2, 2012 |
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