Zora and Me by Victoria Bond
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Carrie and Zora are best friends in the small, all-black town of Eatonville, Florida around the beginning
of the 20th century. Zora is considered one of the most creative people in their town, although she’s also known to be a frequent liar. When a young man gets killed trying to wrestle an alligator, Zora’s imagination runs wild with stories of gators—including one about her claiming to see a local elderly man appearing to be half man, half gator.
Her stories grow even wilder when a man is found murdered just outside of their town; Zora, naturally, believes that the gator man did it! All of this is going on while they deal with issues in each of their families; Zora’s father doesn’t want Zora to “act white”, while Carrie’s father left for a temporary job in Orlando a year before and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. Together, the girls face what new challenges life seems to be handing them in a world that isn’t as small and safe as they had once thought.
This is an interesting story based on Zora Neal Hurston, the author of well-known books such as Their Eyes Were Watching God, and her childhood best friend Carrie. Included at the end of the book is a short biography of Hurston’s life. Readers who enjoy stories that take place around the turn of the 20th century might also enjoy The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (Kelly) and The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had (Levine).
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