ningerbil (ningerbil) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 5 and 6

5. Dead Giveaway, by Charles Ramsey and Randy Nyerges. This is a short autobiography on Charles Ramsey, who became an instant celebrity for his role in rescuing Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, who had been kidnapped and held captive by Ariel Castro for a decade. He busted down Castro's door after he heard one of the women cry for help. That would have been noteworthy enough, but his responses to media queries gained him even more fans, and fame. For example: “Bro, I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl ran into a black man's arms . . . dead giveaway.” Ramsey, who had been a neighbor of Castro's and had no inkling as to what was going on in that house, gives his side of the story of that fateful May 2013 day and the aftermath. Ramsey also talks about his life, growing up in an upper middle class family, and his penchant for troublemaking. That's putting it mildly. I get the impression that Ramsey is a very smart man who, as a youth, alas, did not have that intelligence steered in the right direction. His youthful hijinks -- many aimed at getting back at his domineering father -- range from eyebrow raising to downright dangerous. Those who are easily offended may not want to read this. Ramsey doesn't pull punches in regards to his past transgressions, which includes charges of domestic violence, drug dealing and a couple terms in jail before he straightened up. The book is written in Ramsey's voice, which includes a lot of language. However, if you don't mind a different, pull-no-punches sort of read, it is a very engaging story. Not sure I always agreed with Ramsey's conclusions on some points, but he strikes me as honest, and this book is straight from him, the story told in his words.

6. The Dream Hunters, by Steven M. Hamrick. A fair disclosure- this was written by a friend of mine, so this may not be as impartial as usual. The idea behind this historical fiction work, which I know was many years in the making, is an interesting one. The story centers on Roger Douglas, a young man who finds himself facing both the Creek Wars and the War of 1812, two historic periods that tend to get short shrift in the schools and in publications. Roger, half Scottish and half Muscogee, is looking to inherit his late father's trade -- exchanging goods with the Native Americans and white Americans. However, the brewing wars alter his plans in more ways than he can foresee. It's a lengthy book, but well-paced; it kept me reading and I got through it in a couple of weeks.Some of the dialogue and Roger's thoughts/conversation with his deceased father come across as a bit stilted early on, but things smooth out as the book progresses. The 400+ pages might daunt a younger reader but I can see a grade school teacher reading a chapter or two of this in class, in connection with this era in history. There are some battles of course, but there's nothing gratuitous. Hamrick's book touches on issues such as rascism and the cost of war, but the overall light tone won't make these topics too intimidating. I would recommend it for fourth grade and older.

Currently reading: Hidden Like Anne Frank, by Marcel Prins and Peter Henk Steenhuis.
Tags: autobiography, historical fiction, non-fiction

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