The Silence of Our Friends feels like volume 2.5 of John Lewis’ March, mostly owing to Nate Powell’s artwork, who also did the artwork for March. It’s set in the 1960’s in Texas and surrounds a student protest turned riot, where five black students were unjustly charged with killing a police officer. This is a semi-autobiographical exploration of the author’s father’s time as a white reporter, investigating race relations in the area.
If you want to read March vol 2 (and volume 3), do that before you read this because it gives a lot more context to the organisations at the time (such as the SNCC) and other people and movements. Because of course, John Lewis was there in the thick of it. In the second volume of March, he often will introduce a character and then do a few panels explaining who they are, what they stand for, whether they’re radical or not and where they come from and this really helps to inform the rest of the panels, which I think Mark Long’s comic lacked a little bit.
There is some disability representation in there — one of the little girls, Julie, is blind, and I loved seeing her come to life on the page.
I enjoyed the novel overall and found it really easy to read, though unfortunately it did lack a lot of emotional intensity for me. Mark Long’s family is white, which is a factor that he cannot change, of course, but it meant that a lot of the racial violence occurring in his street was happening on either sides of his family. The part I really loved reading was the trial — it was very emotionally tense and compelling and I wish there had been more of it.
Loved Nate Powell’s artwork.
I found the book interesting for the well-told story and also for the beautiful black and white drawings. I picked the book because I'm interested in stories about civil rights struggles in the 1960s, and it might be a good starting point for anyone who has yet to learn about it. Thanks to the staff at the Main library for putting it on display, that is how I found it!
This story is primarily about a white family, and has really enlightening details into events in Houston during the Civil Rights Movement. Yet the author said in an interview that his one regret was that he had "not been able to find Larry [an African American leader] or his children." I wasn't surprised to read that after I finished the book: their perspective is lacking and their lives obviously quite fictionalized.
I LOVE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE WAY THE WHITES AND THE BLACKS WERE FRIENDS AND THEN THEY BACAME ENEMYS AND CAME BACK TO FRIENDS TO SHOW A WAY OF CHANGE
While I appreciate what wfbranch says below, this is still an engaging and enlightening read. It's always good to be reminded of the civil rights struggle, not so long ago, and its implications for present day North American society.
As a white person, I question the honesty in the author's portayal of a white character as having been somewhat heroic, but I do know that there were at least some whites who indeed did the right thing during the Civil Rights movement. I know that the artist has also written some of his own books and intend to find some of them.
red_eagle_336 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over
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