Book review: In the Land of Cotton by Martha A. Taylor (9781432734718)

1432734717.01._SX50_SCLZZZZZZZ_“In my parents’ and grandparents’ world skin color was an everyday reminder.  In my world it had become the color of life.”  ~Martha Taylor

Martha Taylor’s autobiography chronicles her life in the South starting in 1956 through 1968.  She is a lonely white girl in Tennessee who bonds with her black housekeeper, Lucy Boyd.  When her father loses his job they have to let Lucy go, and unbeknownst to her family, Martha follows Lucy to her home.  Martha is taken in by Lucy’s family and meets Silas who is her first black playmate and the love of her life.  Though Martha’s family moves to Texas, she keeps in touch with the Boyd family and especially, Silas, who goes to Chicago to get a better education and joins the service to fight in Vietnam.  Ms. Taylor includes the history of the civil rights movement, from the Rosa Parks refusal through the assassination of Martin Luther King which is placed in context with the story.

It is a heartwarming, heart-wrenching, coming of age story that takes us back to a time of struggle and destiny.  Ms. Taylor’s writing is unpretentious and beautifully written.  A must read for old and young alike.