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Book Review of Mississippi Bridge

Mississippi Bridge
reviewed on + 219 more book reviews

Drawing once again upon her father's stories, Taylor has created a harsh, disturbing tale of racism in Mississippi during the 1930s. Told from the viewpoint of Jeremy Simms, a ten-year-old white boy who aspires to be friends with the black children of the Logan family, this is the story of a rainy day, an overloaded bus, and the destiny of its passengers after the driver has ordered the black travelers off to make room for latecoming whites. Telescoping the injustices faced by blacks on a daily basis into one afternoon drives home the omnipresent effects of racism with a relentless force. This is an angry book, replete with examples of the insults and injuries to which the African-American characters are subjected. Jeremy, the only white character to acknowledge this unfairness, is brought to task by his father for "snivelin' " after the Logans. The book's climax is a catastrophic accident in which the bus crashes off a bridge, killing the passengers. When Jeremy asks a black rescuer how such a thing could happen, he is told, "the Lord works in mysterious ways." This is a disturbing explanation, not for its implication that the white passengers are being punished for the sins of their race so much as for the logical extension that the black characters were saved because they were kept off the bus in the first place.

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