Catfish Alley is right up my alley as far as books goes–it’s full of historical fiction based on real-life events that took place in the south. I don’t know what it is about southern writers, and why they have a hold on me like they do, but oh, how I love and cherish them! I’m happy to tell you that I’ve now added Lynne Bryant to that list of beloved southern authors, as her debut novel has sunk into a remarkable historical moment, examining the way smart African-American women and men interacted and dealt with ignorant, violent and racist white men back in the days before the Civil Rights movement.
An intimate and astonishingly frank look at white and black history back in the 1930′s and in present-day Mississippi. Like The Help, a southern white woman is told stories from African-American women in her community. That is where the similarities end, and I don’t mean that in a bad way–it’s just a completely different book, and I want to make that clear to you in case you buy it and discover it isn’t like The Help at all in your mind. This book is about Roxanne Reeves, a middle-aged, lonely white woman whose hiding a secret about her own past in the town of Clarksville, Mississippi. She grew up elsewhere, has no true best friends, just acquaintances from her social committee that she doesn’t seem to care for all that much. Roxanne manages to get assigned the unwanted task of finding out local black history, in the hopes that she will win a renovation bid on a historical home owned by northerners who have recently moved to town. Roxanne is in charge of the committee that her town’s already famous Antebellum House tour oversees, and this new woman Roxanne is trying to impress wants to add important black historical places on the existing tour.
Roxanne decides to enlist the help of Grace Clark, a retired black schoolteacher and the only local black woman whose house is nice enough to be on the Antebellum tour. Roxanne has no idea what to expect from Grace, or where she’ll be taking her, and both women begin their journey by first visiting a lumbar yard, which turns out to be the location of the school that Grace, her brother Zero, and their friends Adelle and Junior all attended as children. Each week, Grace tells her a story and takes her to another place, thus adding more characters to what has become a very painful story in the history of this town.
Neither woman is thrilled to be spending time with each other at first, but as time goes by, Roxanne gains insight into the lives of all of the people she meets. For the first time in her life, she has an appreciation for the dreams, courage and endurance of Grace and all of the others she had so easily dismissed. Her own life, and heart, open up in new and unexpected ways, and by the end, she is even able to burden her own secret.
While this book is a brilliant work of fiction, it is based on Bryant’s childhood in Columbus, Mississippi. Many events that actually took place in Columbus are written in this book, including a photographer who not only took high school portraits, but also took pictures of all sorts of people, including lynchings which were passed around as postcards among KKK members in the South during the 1930s and 1940s.
Visit the author’s website at Lynne-Bryant.com.
Find Lynne Bryant on Twitter.
Like Lynne on Facebook.
Visit Indiebound to pre-order a copy of Catfish Alley.
CATFISH ALLEY GIVEAWAY – 2 LUCKY WINNERS WILL WIN A COPY
**Open to U.S. & Canadian residents only.
**No P.O. boxes, please.
**Must include your email in your comment, unless you signed in to leave a comment with your “real” email.
**All comments must be separate to count as separate entries. For example, if you follow me on Facebook and Twitter, leave 2 comments, one with your Facebook name, and one with your Twitter name. Or, if you posted about the giveaway on your blog, leave 5 comments, all with the link to your giveaway.
**Please read the additional rules here.
HOW TO ENTER:
**Mandatory Entry: Go to Lynne Bryant’s website, Lynne-Bryant.com, and tell me what fun or interesting thing you learned or noticed there.
+1 ENTRY: Follow Lynne Bryant on Facebook.
+1 MORE ENTRY: Follow me on Facebook. Make sure to leave your Facebook name in your comment.
+1 MORE ENTRY: Follow me on Facebook and share a link on your wall with the following comment “I entered The Girl from the Ghetto’s book giveaway for Catfish Alley by Lynne Bryant here http://bit.ly/e4tD10.” Make sure to leave a comment below with a link to your Facebook profile or with your Facebook name.
+1 MORE ENTRY: Follow Lynne Bryant on Twitter.
+1 MORE ENTRY: Follow me on Twitter. Make sure to leave your @Twitter name in your comment.
+1 MORE ENTRY: Follow me on Twitter and tweet the following “RT @NerdGirlBlogger I entered the NAL book #giveaway for Catfish Alley by @LynneBryant here http://bit.ly/e4tD10.” You can tweet 4x a day (Once every 6 hours) for even more chances to win. Make sure to leave a link to your tweet in a comment below.
+1 MORE ENTRY: Subscribe to my blog via email or Feedburner.
+1 ENTRY: Follow me on Goodreads.
+1 ENTRY: Follow Lynne Bryant on Goodreads.
+1 ENTRY: Add Catfish Alley to your to-read shelf on Goodreads.
+1 MORE ENTRY: Comment here and tell me why you need to win this giveaway! Do you enjoy reading historical fiction or novels that take place in the south? Do you enjoy reading in general, or, do you just love winning free stuff?
+5 MORE ENTRIES: Write about this giveaway on your own blog. Make sure to post a link to this giveaway and leave me 5 copies of your link via comment here.
Contest ends Sunday, April 3, 2011 at midnight. Good luck to you all!