Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had by Kristin Levine

How I Heard About It:  As I was browsing the audio shelves at the library, I came across this title and the author name seemed familiar to me.  I looked her up and realized I was The Lions of Little Rock a few years back.  That was such a great story so I decided to give this one a shot.  

What It Is About:  As the story opens, the time frame is in the early 1910's.  Dit is twelve years old, likes to fish, play baseball, and hang with the boys.  Emma is new to town, dresses and talks proper, and knows nothing of sports or hunting.  She has just moved to town where her father has taken a new job as the postmaster.  At first these two young people don't find much in common and because of their skin color know they should not be friends.  The more their paths cross, they begin a very unlikely friendship.  Both of their families notice as well as some of the townspeople.  They forge ahead and spend more and more time together.  When the local barber, who is black, defends himself against the white sheriff, he is arrested for murder and sentenced to death.  Dit and Emma know he doesn't deserve it and the evil "hands" are really from the white sheriff.  They hatch a dangerous plan to save the barber before his execution date.  

What I Thought Of It:  My wife and I actually listened to this story together as we made our way to Lawrence, Kansas to visit our son who is a sophomore there.  Normally she doesn't enjoy audio books, but we both were drawn in right away.  The narration was wonderful and the plot was intense, engaging, and suspenseful.  The author did a beautiful job of taking us back in time and "submerging" us into this racially divided community and time period.  The theme and subject matter was bold, raw, and honest.  There were times this made us uncomfortable while listening, but also made us realize how difficult times there during this time in our country's history.  I absolutely loved the characters of Dit and Emma and they were portrayed so well.  Kristin Levine is quite a talented writer.  

Who Should Read It:  Because of the subject matter, language, and content; I would say this is definitely a story for readers in grade six and above.  It would be perfect for middle-school readers who are interested and/or studying our country during the early 1900's.  I'm thinking even some high-school readers would be intrigued by the book.  I'm so glad we included this audio book on our road trip.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars

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