Saturday, September 19, 2015

Seeing Red by Kathryn Erskine

After Red's father dies unexpectedly his mother makes plans to move them to Ohio leaving behind his father's automotive shop and the only home Red and his younger brother have ever known.  Red is determined to do whatever he can to stop this plan.  He tries removing the "For Sale" signs in the yard, making the house seem undesirable to potential buyers, and cutting school to do the repairs for customers with the help of his father's assistant.  When nothing works, Red turns to a bad boy neighbor and his gang but they tell him he needs to do something to prove his worth before he can join them.  Red's initiation involves a near lynching of his former African-American friend Thomas.  Racism doesn't stop there as Red learns more about his ancestors and encounters attitudes about his friendships with an elderly neighbor and his father's helper who becomes even more important to Red's family.

Writing this review has reminded me of the depth of this book which Erskine sneaks in with her skillful writing.  Every character is nuanced and few are all good or bad, just like real people.  A story of right and wrong and the difficulty in doing right all the time.