Meyer’s novel was required reading in seventh grade at my middle school. Recently, my mom and I were going through my brother’s bookcases trying to figure out what to put up on on PBS. When I picked up While Lilacs my brother immediately said to let it go. I couldn’t remember if I liked it or not so I settled down to reread it.
It was difficult to read about the insensitivity of the time, but I can understand why my school decided it was important for us to read it, especially since this story is based on Denton, Texas and Denton is about a forty-five minute drive from where I live. White Lilacs is a story with a view of history that we rarely see.
In 1921 Freedomtown contained everything the black community needed — a ‘colored’ school, two churches, a grocery story, and cafe. It just happened that Freedomtown, known as Freedom by its residents, was right in the middle of Dillon with white people on every side. When Dillon’s white residents announce plans to raze Freedomtown, relocate its residents, and build in its place a park, things changed within and outside the community.
I think was really helped out this difficult topic was that everything was explained thoroughly in the book. The characters were very realistic and I think that the author did a good job of describing people, places, and things. The story does take a while to process, but I still enjoyed it.
- Carolyn, Meyer. White Lilacs. Boston MA: Harcourt Trade Publishers, 2001. Print. 256 pgs. ISBN: 0152958762. Source: Purchased.