Sweet Song by Terry Persun

I recently signed up for a program called Book Rooster so I can receive free advanced copies of books on my Kindle in exchange for writing reviews. I finished this book a while ago but struggled to find my voice as a reviewer. Even tonight, I’m posting after midnight because it took a bit longer than I anticipated to get it right. It can be difficult to fully express how a book touched you without giving too much away. I’m finally satisfied but would love any feedback if anyone has any to offer!

Sweet Song by Terry Persun is the haunting story of  Leon, the light skinned son of a white land owner and black servant in post-Civil War America. Raised black by his mother, on his father‘s farm, Leon found himself rejected by both cultures. When he suddenly finds himself thrust into an entirely new world and passing for white he is once again  torn between two cultures. Left wrestling with the inner turmoil brought on by white-washing his past  he wonders what the cost will be of his newfound opportunities.

Persun’s ability to draw the reader into the setting without being overly wordy was impressive. He seemed keenly aware that emotions paint a more vivid picture than the particular shade of sky ever could. Instead of merely describing each new place in which Leon found himself Persun chose to focus on a few key details and use those to showcase Leon’s emotional connection to his new setting.  The fear Leon experienced while crossing a raging river as the water swirled below him was palpable and I found myself holding my breath, struggling right along with him.

Even more amazing than the picture he painted of the setting was Persun’s ability to create a character with a  completely different life experience than my own, yet whom I wholly understood and related to on many levels. My heart broke at the heaviness Leon experienced when he couldn’t fully be himself or, more often, even fully know himself. This beautifully written tale will touch anyone who’s ever found themselves struggling to find their place in the world.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.

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2 responses to “Sweet Song by Terry Persun

  1. Sounds like a good book! One of my favorite books as a kid was called Wolf by the Ears and it was about Thomas Jefferson’s daughter with Sally Hemmings, who was a very light skinned girl who made decision to pass for white. Interestingly, it was the first book I ever wrote a review of–for a short-lived homeschool magazine that we put together as a journalism group/project.

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