The Air Between Us: Book summary and reviews of The Air Between Us by Deborah Johnson

The Air Between Us

By Deborah Johnson

The Air Between Us
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2009,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

A captivating novel that will appeal to readers of The Secret Life of Bees and Mudbound about the fault lines – both seen and unseen – that lie in a small southern town as it struggles with integration.

Revere, Mississippi, is not unlike many small towns in the South during the 1960s, with black people living on one side of town and whites on the other. Both groups have their fair share of mysterious and interesting characters, and everyone has something to hide, or something they’re hiding from. When a poor white man is injured in what looks to be a typical hunting accident and is brought to the segregated Doctors Hospital and later dies, many truths long hidden begin to reveal themselves.

Perfect for summer reading, with an intriguing plot and characters with whom all readers can identify.

First published in hardcover in January 2008. Publishing in paperback in April 2009.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"This heartwarming novel will strike a chord with fans of Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees" - Booklist.

"Johnson offers a colorful, well-drawn story …Johnson's omniscient narrator gracefully glides through the tangle of associations that exist between the black residents and those who inhabit Revere's 'white' side. Told in folksy language and down-home idioms that only occasionally veer into corn pone, this enjoyable story evokes a world once hidden in plain sight, and the inevitability of its end." - The Washington Post.

"Johnson tries to squeeze too much out of the limited plot, but compelling character studies keep pages turning." - Publishers Weekly.

"In this engaging if oddly benign and probably revisionist take on the civil-rights upheaval, Mississippians cross racial lines with ease." - Kirkus Reviews.

"At the heart of the story are two physicians, African American Reese Jackson and Caucasian Cooper Connelly. Unfortunately, both are stereotypes. Worse, other characters are clichés ... " - Library Journal.

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Amy
Rich Characterization Kept Me Turning Pages
This is a pleasant southern novel that gently unfolds with rich characterization and sense of setting. In some ways simple, it is also very satisfying by the end. The characters really made this book.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Colleen
The Air Between Us
Deborah Johnson has written a wonderful story set in the South during the 1960's civil rights movement. Her writing style is superb and the story carries you along into the lives of people who were just trying to get along in life.

You meet characters that you can both love and hate and you really cannot put the book down until the end.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Judy, a librarian
Interesting story
The Air Between Us takes place in Revere, Mississippi in 1966, a town on the brink of desegregation. The looming prospect of a future with no boundaries between races helps reveal complex and often hidden relationships, and surprising secrets, among the townspeople across races and across classes. I would recommend this book for the story. But the characters did not engage me, and the whole book is written in a folksy colloquial Southern voice, which is OK coming from the characters but annoying coming from the third person narrator.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Marganna
I've Been There
I enjoyed this book - it held my attention and I can identity with the situation. I grew up in Texas long before integration so the book did seem believable. What is unbelievable is how things were in the South during my early years. I have memories of discrimination that I think couldn't have happened in my lifetime! When I read or watch stories about segregation/integration I often hang my head in sadness and grief.

This book brought up these feelings in me. For that reason it gets a "good". Although it is not a complex book, It is well written and clear. The writing style is simple; the story is engaging; the characters are well formed, three dimensional and I cared what happened to them. The mystery is driven by the characters and doesn't seemed forced. I found myself often thinking about the story and I wanted to know the conclusion - that also qualifies it as a good book, worthy of the read and I'd recommend it to a friend. I belong to 4 book clubs and I don't think I would recommend it - although the story is complex, the book is not challenging. It is a good book for a long airplane trip or a beach read.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by nina
The Air Between Us
Growing up in the South during this time (the 50's and 60's), I found this book very enjoyable and eye-opening. I think this book would appeal to others raised during this time that had a very limited understanding of the reasons for the integration conflicts. The plot was well constructed and moved along without time to be bored with any repetition . I would have liked for there to have been more background on most of the characters leading up to the time they all came together. I will recommend this book to my book club.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Kristen
Thumbs up
If you are looking for a novel where you can try to solve a mystery while learning about things that happened in the past then this is the one for you. The Air Between Us takes you along for the ride of racial tension between blacks and whites in the 60's and what happens when you try to provide equal education for the first time in the south. It allows you to see how relationships may have been between blacks and white folks then and how each thought about what was happening to their world.

...7 more reader reviews

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More Information

More Information

Deborah Johnson now lives and works in Columbus, Mississippi, after living for many years in Italy.

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