Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Ellen Feldman begins each chapter of Scottsboro with a quote from one of the participants (victims?). She intersperses the novel with news reports and insights into 1930s America, giving us a feel for what both northerners and southerners must have been thinking. Her invention of a white female northern reporter allows us to view the happenings as impartially as possible. Yet this book left me with a feeling of such distrust for my fellow Americans that on a recent trip to Georgia I couldn't stand to get close to strangers. There seemed to be noone who was innocent in this travesty of justice that is now a part of our history. The Scottsboro boys and the multiple trials that ensued can't be erased from our history. Feldman has given us a well-researched tale of Jim Crow and communism in the 30s and 40s. Other reviews have said that she failed to develop the fiction well enough to make an enjoyable read, but I found the inhumanity of the tale enough to keep me turning the pages.