Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: Ringside, 1925

Ringside, 1925: Views from the Scopes Trial
By Jennifer Fisher Bryant
Published 2008 by Random House Children's Books

It's 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee and the residents of town are about to be witness to one of the most notorious trials of the century - the Scopes trial. This novel in verse explores how the unfolding events affect a number of townspeople.

I had already read two of Bryant's books when I picked this one up, once again reading verse novels because they are guaranteed to be quick reads. I have really enjoyed Bryant's other work so I was eager to read this one. It did not disappoint. Bryant tackles a sensitive topic with interesting and well-written poetry and populates her novel with a variety of fascinating characters, each with their own distinct voice. I loved reading about all of them and seeing how the trial affected each - from the subtle to the more extreme. The book was, indeed, a quick read, but that doesn't make it any less satisfying. This is a slice of life novel on early 20th-century America, but it still feels timely. I found a few passages particularly powerful and meaningful; I think Bryant captures the struggle to understand those with beliefs different than our own quite well. I really enjoyed this one; I hope she continues to write.

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