Mildred Barger Herschler The Darkest Corner

ISBN 13: 9781886910546

The Darkest Corner

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One night Teddy witnesses a cross burning from her attic window. She knows about the frightening White Knights of Mississippi, but she never imagine that her father is one of them. With her best friend, a black girl named Stella, Teddy embraces the civil rights movement in direct opposition to her staunchly conservative father. Over a period of several years, Teddy's family is undermined by the insidious effects of racism as her father struggles to maintain the status quo, her mother begins to speak out, and Teddy grapples with irreconcilable truths.

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About the Author:

Mildred Barger Herschler, a native of West Virginia, was a reporter on one of her hometown daily newspapers before she attended Bethany College, majoring in journalism. She has lived on Long Island and in New York City, where she was the editor of a weekly magazine for marketing executives and a freelance writer for periodicals before moving to the South. Her poetry has appeared in The Crisis, she was a winner of the South Carolina Fiction Project in 1996 with her short story, Martin's Epiphany, and she was an artist-in-residence in October 1994 at the Millay Colony for the Arts. She is the author of a children's biography of Frederick Douglass and an historical novel, The Walk Into Morning, which received critical acclaim, including a starred review from Kirkus, which called it "A stormy, yet keenly focused, dramatically potent first novel." She lives in a border community in the foothills of western North and South Carolina. The Darkest Corner is her first young adult novel.

From School Library Journal:

Gr 6-8-In the early 1960s, Theodora Sanders, a white girl from a small town in Mississippi, finds her "town is in an uproar, ain't nobody safe." Teddy's world is held together by her loving relationship with Lizzie, the family housekeeper, but that world begins to shatter after she views a cross burning and then sees her best friend's father hanging from a tree. As African Americans become more forceful in their push for equality, Teddy's family relationships and her parents' marriage become increasingly strained. Her father, the president of the local bank and a respected pillar of the community, is a vociferous reactionary and member of the Klan. Ostracized by her white peers, the girl is drawn closer to her black friends Stella and Tommy and joins in Civil Rights protests. Teddy's is a strong and eloquent voice that filters the bitter, tumultuous divisions of the period through the confusion of adolescence. However, while the depth of the author's extensive historical research is readily apparent, the overly eventful plot leaves important issues unresolved. Stella's father's lynching, her mother's rape, the brutal beating of Tommy and of Lizzie's two sons, and Teddy's father's threatening nocturnal visits to her occur as isolated episodes without significant consequences. While this briskly paced story provides a panoramic view of the Civil Rights Movement, its broad sweep comes at the expense of plot and character development.-Patricia B. McGee, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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