Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Standing at the Scratch Line

Standing at the Scratch Line by Guy Johnson was recommended to me by a former co-worker. It's the saga of LeRoi "King" Tremain and it's a helluva page turner. The book opens in the Louisiana Bayou, where the teenage LeRoi is pushed out of his home and ends up in the army serving in World War I. From the second he joins the army, I couldn't put it down. The book covers approximately 30 years in his life, during which he experiences bootlegging, the Harlem Renaissance, extreme Southern racism, extreme Northern racism,and about a million family secrets. He is an angry man, and the book always takes his side, even when I am not sure he's right. But who cares? He's fascinating. If anybody out there has read this, PLEASE post in the comments, I am dying to compare and contrast his actions with his wife's. This book also really opened my eyes to a lot of racial issues that I had never fully considered before (such as the disrespect of calling a man by his first name rather than Mr. So and so). There is a sequel, which I think was actually written first and side note, this author is Maya Angelou's son.


cshell said...

I loved the book and could admire Serena's strength. Did not like some of her actions at the end but I understood her. As for King that is the only way he knew to survive. He was taught from birth to kill and trained to do so in the army.

sefdog said...

One of my favorite books. The rebel in me identifies heavily with King's need to carve his own path through this world. When one looks at the content and character of this book it's crystal clear that it's a rare find. I have yet to find another that frames a Black Man so strongly.