Got a question? Click here!

The BookBrowse Review

Published September 20, 2017

ISSN: 1930-0018

printable version
You are viewing a sample edition of The BookBrowse Review for members. To learn more about membership, click here.
Back    Next

Contents

In This Edition of
The BookBrowse Review

Highlighting indicates debut books

Editor's Introduction
Reviews
Hardcovers Paperbacks
First Impressions
Latest Author Interviews
Recommended for Book Clubs
Book Discussions

Discussions are open to all members to read and post. Click to view the books currently being discussed.

Publishing Soon

Novels


Historical Fiction


Short Stories/Essays


Mysteries


Thrillers


Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Alternate History


Biographies/Memoirs


History, Science & Current Affairs


Travel & Adventure


Young Adults

Novels


Thrillers


Extras
  • Blog:
    6 Books That Help You Talk About Death and End-of-Life Care
  • Notable:
    Recycle Book Club
  • Wordplay:
    Y Can't M A S P O O A S E
  • Book Giveaway:
    If the Creek Don't Rise
  • Quote:
    The only completely consistent people are the dead
Book Jacket

The Twelve-Mile Straight
by Eleanor Henderson
12 Sep 2017
560 pages
Publisher: Ecco
ISBN-13: 9780062422088
Critics:
Readers:
mail to a friend   

BookBrowse members resident in the USA can request free review copies of books through our First Impressions program. Below are their opinions on one such book...

Write your own review

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Susan Braun

Living near the 12 mile straight
32 years ago, my husband accepted an appointment that took our family as far from our roots as we could possibly imagine. Although we were living in a small Pennsylvania town in the heart of the Susquehanna valley as far removed from all the conveniences both culinary and otherwise that we had grown up with, we were ill prepared for the move to a South we thought had ceased to exist. The South portrayed by Eleanor Henderson not only existed in some towns 32 years ago, the same is true today.

Based on stories her father and grandparents shared, she paints a vivid picture of the late 20s and mid 30s in the South of the sharecropper and mill towns where timber or cotton were king. Class distinction between the large farmers and factory owners, their workers and races was very distinct. Farm owners led separate lives from their sharecroppers although they would allow them better living accommodations while their coloured workers oft lived in shantys without any comforts. Factory workers lived in company owned homes in the factory town. The races lived separately in separate divided parts of town never to mix without consequences. When they did, there was hell to pay with a lynching not uncommon.

The story Eleanor Henderson weaves was part of the fabric of the deep South and one I heard often when I moved here. Whether it was to test my sensitivities or to educate me, I never did figure out but in many cases it was as an apology for a past many tried to forget. A past where many stereotypes still lay hidden with the rest of the family skeletons.
Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Chris H. (Wauwatosa, WI)

Twelve-Mile Straight
This is a book of perspectives and impressions. It covers a time period during the depression and prohibition. It is wonderful in the way the characters and their lives are intertwined. It brings racism to the fore. It is such a gripping and page turning read that leads one's mind to really think about the issues of the times. A book like this does not come around often!
Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Claire M. (Sarasota, FL)

The Twelve Mile Straight
There are so many reasons to read this vivid, beautifully written book about life as a sharecropper around the time of the depression. One is that if you think about it while you're reading you'll come away with a greater understanding of life as a black or poor white and how it is embedded in our culture. Another is Henderson's writing and structure. Elma, Nan and Juke are really the central characters and we are introduced to them in the first chapters. Moving on she goes sideways and back to show us how intricately those lives are part of a bigger picture-life in a small town in Georgia where everyone is part of the story.

Elma Jessup gives birth to what are called the Gemini twins – one light skinned the other dark. A black hired hand is accused of raping her and he is hung, which ultimately forces the townspeople to confront who they really are. She lives with her father Juke and Nan, the black daughter of her dead household help. Elma and Nan are like sisters - Nan can't speak because her mother cut out her tongue when she was a child. Elma is bringing up the twins as she can, but eventually all the lies and secrets of intertwined families begin to surface and the good and the evil in Florence, Cotton County, Georgia explain how we come to be where we are.
Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Cheryl P. (Lebanon, PA)

The Twelve Mile Straight
The Twelve Mile Straight left me with twelve miles of different emotions and thoughts about the book. The book was amazing in how the author intertwined the characters lives and their individual stories to come to settle in this impoverished town of Cotton County, Georgia.
Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Kristine M. (Marion, IL)

Worth a trip down the Twelve-Mile Straight
WOW! I was not surprised that this novel was a tough read, given the subject matter, but it was so good! The author made rural Georgia in the 1930s come alive with her descriptions of daily life and the struggles to make ends meet. The characters were well developed, as the story was told from varying viewpoints. The selfishness of human motivations were laid bare in this book, sparing no one. I loved how the truths in the story were revealed slowly, in layers, reaching backward and forward in time, until it was a fully formed yet imperfect flower. My mind keeps going back to The Twelve-Mile Straight and the lives lived and lost there.
Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Liz D. (East Falmouth, MA)

Twelve Mile Straight
The Twelve Straight was a short stretch of road between Florence GA. and George Wilson's farm. Within this short stretch of road. Eleanor Henderson captures a microcosm of the social problems prevalent in the South during the Depression years.

Seen through the eyes of 2 teenage girls the story tells of racism, oppression, class distinction. Weaving these and other related issues into a compelling, sometimes complicated, tale with a large cast of characters the reader gets a nuanced view of the South before WWII.

The book was a difficult but rewarding read which I will remember for a long time. It will join other favorites on my bookshelf to be read again. A thought provoking, character driven book. The best kind of read!
Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Susan K. (Dartmouth, MA)

A long, crazy ride.
Yes, it was, and it started out as a confusing one as well. So many characters, but I sorted them out eventually. I really liked the writing: almost every chapter or change of scene was so richly described the image of the place would just come into view in my mind's eye. (My favorite kind of writing)
The storyline, with the main characters being both black and white was really in depth, going back and forth from one character's viewpoint to another's. Lots of period and cultural detail. Quite an interesting story, but I think it could be shortened a bit without losing anything major. Not a fun read, though, it'll be great for book club discussion.
Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Rosemary K. (Saginaw, MI)

Read till the end of the road!
The Twelve-Mile Straight is a stunning book; brilliantly written, and full of inspired plot lines.

I was hooked from the first words. There was a brief period, though, when I was confused. I needed to re-read several pages, but they did not enlighten me. I finally decided to keep on; eventually, I made my way into the clearing.

I was impressed by all the issues covered by the author (race, male domination, small-town views); I was pleased with the time she took to develop her inimitable characters. The book is a page turner! Except for that time of uncertainty early on, I read eagerly, thoroughly enraptured.

I most highly recommend this wondrous book; I also plan to read the author's earlier work. So far, this is my choice for best book of 2017! Several of my more valued friends will be receiving this from me at Christmas.

more...

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.