Saturday, May 2, 2009

Them by Nathan McCall

Washington Square Press: ; August 2008 (Reprint Edition)
Reviewer: TS
Rating: 3.5

A good read for book clubs. Good discussion starter…

Nathan McCall's novel, Them, depicts the gentrification of Atlanta 's Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, where Martin Luther King Jr's home is located. The story gives some history the Old Fourth Ward to help you get a better idea of how things were before the changes.

The story focuses on a middle aged man who is suspicious of all forms of government, which he refers to as "Caesar". He starts to feel that it's time to get some roots, so he decides to purchase the home he and his young nephew Tyrone are renting and this is where the story takes off.

As white couples begin to move into the neighborhood, one couple purchase the home next door to Barlowe and Tyrone, and the racial tensions begin to show though out the neighborhood. The couple, Sean and Sandy attempt to fit in and meet neighbors, but they come up against nothing but resistance and cutting eyes from their neighbors. Then you see that their own fears and assumptions begin to take hold the longer they live in a neighborhood that is clearly not welcoming.

McCall does an excellent job of giving you an up-close look at racism and change (or lack there of). The story continued to develop which keeps the story from becoming too predictable. The character development was strong enough to keep you focused on what will happen with the residents of the Old Fourth Ward instead of focusing only on all the negativity occurring in the book.

This book is an eye opener and the story seems believable, although some of the situations that occur are very stereotypical.

Over all, it's entertaining and you will see how this book parallels to real life and will defiantly result in some good discussion.

No comments: