Out of The Night That Covers Me
by Pat Cunningham Devoto
Category: Fiction / General
0 pages; ISBN: 0446527513
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
In the 1950s Bainbridge, Alabama, eight-year old John McMillan suffers the devastating loss of his beloved mother when she suddenly dies. Some might have considered John a mama’s boy because of how close he was to her especially since his father was already dead. John’s Aunt Nelda brings him to her home in Lower Peach Tree in Alabama's Black Belt. However, John is shocked by the living conditions where there is no indoor plumbing or electricity. Even worse is the treatment John receives from Uncle Luther, who makes him slave outdoors all day, sells his last connections to his mom, and simply beats him at any moment.
John meets Judge Vance, president of the Planters and Merchants Bank Lower Peach Tree, who makes reasonable loans to the local “colored” community. His actions leave white landowners outraged. While working assorted jobs for the Judge, John discovers that "the coloreds" are moving in large numbers to the northern cities, especially Chicago. John wonders how the dirt poor colored are paying their way, but believes somehow that Tuway, the Judge's right-hand man, is accomplishing the impossible feat.
OUT OF THE NIGHT COVERS ME is an insightful, well-written coming of age novel that brings to life 1950s rural Alabama just before the Civil Rights push. John is an interesting character who struggles along. The support cast provide a vivid look at a bygone era though Pat Cunningham Devoto overkills the historical elements. Still this tale and its predecessor (MY LAST DAYS AS ROY ROGERS) will provide much enjoyment to those readers who relish Southern tales like TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
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