Monday, July 2, 2012

BOOK REVIEW BY FRAN LEWIS - AUTHOR DEBORAH KENNEDY



06/30 Fran Lewis gave 5 stars to: Two Kinds of Color by Deborah Kennedy

Two Kinds Of Color
Author: Deborah Kennedy

Some men think that their relationships with women come with a warranty that they create and have them sign. When the warranty is up they have to the right to renew or hopefully escape and regain their freedom. Jimmy Tate thought he had the world on a string, women in more than just his back pocket and money to burn. Using women for his own personal needs, illegal businesses and a reputation that would make your skin crawl, he got what he deserved so why did someone else have to pay?

Jimmy Tate’s daughter Angela worshipped him and hated everyone else. Idolizing her father, thinking she could say and do anything she wanted, hating her own mother this young eight year old child did everything she could to create fear in anyone that saw her and block out anyone that was kind. But, something would hopefully change that as Angela was witness to her father’s wrath, mercenary ways and cruelty as he destroyed on man’s shoe business, used a jackhammer to injure him and left in on the floor. A religious and kind Jewish man but not afraid to speak his mind, Mr. Straub would make sure that Jimmy paid for his deeds and much more. In a world filled with hate, prejudice and fear there was a code of justice that prevailed no matter who you were or where you are. He would pay and his friends would make sure he did.

Ruby Johnson and Freddie Walker are best friends and on the road to freedom. Freddie has four children from different fathers. Angela, Jimmy’s and the rest did not know who their father’s are or probably ever will. Angela was a prostitute and decided to leave Jimmy, take her four kids and her best friend and move to the good side of town. But, sometimes what you want is not what you get as her friend Ruby goes to pick up the groceries from Mr. Clark that they would need to leave and the cruelty and meanness of one woman named Thelma Brown brought more than just harsh words between them. Some people judge you by appearance, others by what you do in life and some are just ignorant. Four children, two white, two black and living in squalor. But, our story has just begun and what happens next would change the lives of all of the children, Freddie and Ruby. Two Kinds of Color: Two races of children one thought provoking novel by author Deborah Kennedy.

Four children each special, each with their own personality and yet fragile in their own way. Betty-Jean the youngest, at 6 years of age, lightly handicapped when she walked yet so sweet and precious and special to her mother. Neda considered by Freddie delightful, bright and lightens up a room when she is present. Danny wise beyond his years, handsome and perceptive as he warns his sister about Jimmy and how they need to plan ahead incase something goes wrong. Finally, Angela so wrapped up in her father’s world she cannot see past the lies, deceits and his murderous ways. But, what happens next would not only rock the world of the four children, but would take away the only mother and friend they knew. As Danny and Neda put their plan into action and they try to protect their mother after the brutal beating Jimmy inflicted on her, what happens next will create more than just a huge wind when those who ignore ones who need help exact God’s fury in the end. Parker Bishop tried to convince Freddie to leave on her own but she would not leave her children. In the end it would cost her more than just her freedom.

Someone killed Jimmy Tate that night. In all of the violence and the blackout somehow the gun went off. Who killed Jimmy? Some women are victims and other fight back and when Freddie and her children do learn the tragedy of what happens as I review this outstanding novel by Deborah Kennedy Two Kinds of Color.
A father and son would battle, argue and eventually part ways as one wants to help the woman he loves and the other wants him to evict himself from her life. Appearances can be deceiving and Freddie is about to pay for a lifestyle she did not ask for, a man who beat her for his own sport and a world so filled with hate, prejudice and abuse that they allowed this to happen right in front of them. Ruby arrested and framed for drugs. Freddie beaten within an inch of her life and the police-abusing Ruby even more because it just might sell papers brings them some fame if they get her convicted. When Parker Bishop asks his powerful lawyer father for help, what happens will not only tear them apart but will create more than just a black and white world. Freddie is white and this story takes place in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Trying to live her life and care for her young children she entered the world of prostitution, gambling and violence. As a result the children wound up in Juvenile Detention and here is where we learn more about Betty Jean and the other three children. Betty Jean was declared in an impenetrable state of shock where as Angela keeps her mind focused on bringing Jimmy back to life. She is so far removed from the real world she hears his voice in her head. Danny tried to fit in with the other kids and had to hang tough. Auden Home was not wear any kid wanted to be. Neda, who was always so complacent and kind toughened up and was not so trusting before being placed in this home. Ella Partridge is the director of Auden Home and with the help of Robert Bishop she would destroy the lives of the four Walker children making sure they were separated in order to save his son from Freddie. Keeping the children under lock and key in the reception room would not only frighten Betty Jean but anger the others. When they find out the end result they will never be the same. Threats made bribes offered and one man who was out to destroy Freddie in order to keep his son away from her.

How far would a mother go in order to protect her children? Pleading guilty to a crime she did not commit and to a drug charge that was false is that the price she should pay for keeping her children safe? What kind of evil man is this Robert Bishop and why not let the courts decide? Each of the children had a new home and a new set of parents. Danny seemed okay with his new home along with Betty Jean. Angela was placed and the end result sent her back to Auden Home.

Some promises are really lies and what happens next will make you shudder as both women are sentenced to long prison terms. Freddie to 40 years and Ruby railroaded and lied to given a life sentence without parole. They had no chance with the help of Robert Bishop not only did he destroy his son’s life and their relationship but sent two women to prison allowing the four children to live life without their mother. But with Ruby’s help she would learn where her children were and about their successes and no matter how Robert Bishop tried it did not stop Parker from visiting Freddie in prison. Two friends bound by a secret and the lies will come out only when one is gone. Freddie was sick and the next scene is her coffin being lowered into the ground. While Parker finds a way to get Ruby’s case reviewed and hopefully her sentence overturned. Hiring a good lawyer to get the review board to overturn her conviction was the first step and finding Freddie’s children to testify the next. As Neda is fired from her job for being overweight we revisit and learn more about Danny Walker his life and his business. Enter Neda who was told to stay away from him and not part of this family. One family torn apart in a flash in one night and so many lives lost, destroyed and one woman who paid the ultimate price for her silence. Author Deborah Kennedy brings to light what happens when prejudice, abuse and hate win out and when one man decides the fact of two women and four children because he does not want his son coming to her rescue and his preconceived feelings about a woman he never really knew. People do what they have to at times in order to feed their family’s. When Freddie Walker decided to walk away from her life as a prostitute and move to the good side of town one man would stop her cold and another would make sure the final nails in her coffin were placed.

As the family reunites and the trial begins Angela has her own family, Danny his and the end result will rock each one of their worlds as the author brilliantly reveals the hidden lies each one hoped to bury along with Freddie as the will is read, the bequests stated, the amount of money Freddie left and who stands to profit. But, will this family ever unite and will they ever respect the memory of their mother who sacrificed her life for them? Why did Ruby lie about them to Freddie? Will Ruby be pardoned?

Take the journey back with this reviewer to where it all began, how she met Ruby, Jimmy and their lives before everything became black or white. Find out what happens when the review board meets and more truths are revealed. An ending that will definitely bring more than just tears to your eyes and a family that might find out that two different colors on the outside means nothing when we are all the same on the inside. This is a powerful book that brings to light what happens when one woman named Ruby Johnson sacrifices more than just her freedom for a friend. A definite must read.
Fran Lewis: reviewer