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Lay That Trumpet In Our Hands by Susan Carol McCarthy

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Lay that Trumpet in our Hands, investigates the mistreatment of African Americans throughout Florida in the 1950s. It was common for a white family to have multiple black people working for them at one time, but not for the McMahon's. In an unforgettable story, McCarthy nararates the book through the voice of a little girl growing up in a small town in Florida. The book takes us into the lives of this family as they watch a friend be murdered and raped for his race, and the trials and tribulations that they must face in order to receive justice.

Susan Carol McCarthy wrote Lay that Trumpet in our Hands after receiving shocking news that the 40 year FBI investigation of the KKK, it had finally been solved. To her relief, she started writing while still keeping her day job working for Disney. Her award-winning debut novel came out in 2002. Soon after, McCarthy started writing her second book again about trying to get justice. She told a reporter that she is “drawn to the stories of ordinary people who, when backed into a moral corner, choose, often at great risk, to do the right thing” (McCarthy).

Lay that Trumpet in our Hands is not just a book. This well written novel is an analysis of what it was like to live as an African American in the South. It gives many people the realization of the harshness of the times – not just the harsh reality that the African Americans had to face everyday, but how many whites were mistreating blacks.
Susan uses exceptional voice in the character Reesa, because in the story Reesa represents herself. She says that “every family has their stories” and that this was hers (277). The imagery in the book pulls us in and makes us believe that everything that is happening is completely true. This part helps because McCarthy adds in the “visit to the home by Mr. Harry T. Moore and Mr. Thurgood Marshall” (96). Although this is partially true, making them important characters in the book adds to the imagery that is created.

After the killing of Marvin, the stories tone shifts to frustration and conflict. The novel takes us through the narrator's family point of view of how they have to attempt to deal with their loss. “This is war,” Reesa's dad, Warren says about the whole situation (208). He refers to it perfectly because this conflict would ultimately divide a nation. The book ends in an un-expecting way, but justice would finally be given to the African Americans who suffered for so long.

Let's face it, that although this book is set in a different time period and a different state, it almost copies the ideas of To Kill A Mockingbird. The book seems to be more often than not compared to it, yet can never stand up to the unforgettable timeless novel. I feel the exact same as many critics do. When choosing a book, go for TKAM first. Later, when wanting to get a deeper view and an almost true story about African Americans in Florida, buy this one. It is fulfilling in the face that although the book does not give the ending the true story is revealed. Its unexpecting plot takes the reader on a roller coaster through different mistreatments and trials that have been overlooked by many government officials. Although I cannot say it is my favorite book ever, I recommend it to those interested in Historical Fiction.





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