Colorblind Historical Fiction Book Review

I love historical fiction.  While the 1950's/1960's represent fairly recent history; the events of those times happened well before I was born.  I didn't experience the early years of desegregation--though small, Southern Ohio town, Hillsboro, near my own hometown, was one of many caught in the struggles of integration.   I was very interested to read and review Leah Harper Bowron's book, Colorblind.  What did I think of Colorblind:  A Novel?

I received a complimentary, advance reader copy of this book for use in my review.  All opinions are my own.

About the Book 

The time was 1968. The place was Montgomery, Alabama. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sen. Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated. War was raging in Vietnam. And war was raging on the playground of the all-white Wyatt Elementary School. 

Schoolyard bullies teased sixth grader Lisa Parker because of the way her nose looked. Lisa would often develop a stomachache and check out of school to escape the bullies. Until sixth grade teacher Miss Annie Loomis came to Wyatt. Miss Loomis just happened to be the first African American at Wyatt, and Lisa loved her English class. Now, when the bullies teased Lisa, she would stay in school so that she could be in Miss Loomis’ class. Yet something terrible happened that would change Lisa and Miss Loomis forever.  

Racism reared its ugly head at Wyatt, and now Lisa was not the only victim of the bullies’ teasing. Would Miss Loomis endure the bullies’ racist taunts?

My Review

The Author Explores Much More than Desegregation in this Novel.  Readers will find the very emotional, painful realities of racial tensions our past (and, unfortunately, the present).  The novel's characters face bullying, racism, self-doubt, and internal and external struggles throughout the book from a variety of sources.  While school integration opens the door and creates the setting for the story line--the book is a character study of individuals, communities, fear, courage and resolve.  As the author compares a young, white student facing her challenges to her much older, African American teacher, the similarities far outweigh their perceived differences.

Colorblind is Simple Yet Powerful.  The author creates a very compelling story from seemingly simplistic, easy to read, text.    I immediately connected with both Lisa and Miss Loomis as the author developed the story.  While the book is not an action-packed thriller--it is impossible to put down.  I finished the book rather quickly--but, the thought provoking messages remain with me days after reading.

Would I recommend Colorblind: A Novel?  This book shines a pointed light upon racism, life's many bullies, mob mentality and personal growth and courage in a very volatile, historical context.  Readers will feel the pains of the characters--and experience multiple views of a story.   I think it is an excellent book to educate young adults a bit about the impact of bullying (no matter the cause, source, or result)--and the value of taking a stand.   The book considers the issues of the period from a very personal, emotional stance from which readers of many walks of life will identify.

Buy the Book

Meet the Author

Leah Harper Bowron is a lawyer and James Joyce scholar from Birmingham, Alabama. Her article “Coming of Age in Alabama: Ex parte Devine Abolishes the Tender Years Presumption” was published in the Alabama Law Review. She recently lectured on Joyce’s novel Ulysses at the University of London and the Universite de Reims. She lives in Texas and has a daughter named Sarah and a cat named Jamie.

Connect with the Author 


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