Pacific Avenue

Bland cover, or layered allusion to Disney's racially-charged "Song of the South"?  You decide.

Bland cover, or layered allusion to Disney’s racially-charged “Song of the South”? You decide.

Anne L Watson’s Pacific Avenue is one of those novels that would be easy to dismiss as mere romance.  However, that would be unfair.  Pacific Avenue is also a story about young adulthood, racial prejudice, middle-class expectations, and the psychological effects of war.  Kathy is young, white, and middle-classed; the daughter of an idealistic college professor and a closet-racist of a housewife.  Lacey is middle-aged, black and poor; an under-payed secretary whose own daughter has just left for college.  The pair serve as narrators for the story that ensues, Kathy recounting the story of a failed interracial relationship with Richard Johnson; and Lacey providing an alternative view point on the same.  One of those stories, then?  Yes, to some extent.  Watson’s novel  falls strongly into the realm of literary fiction.  In some intangible way, it reminds me of Kim Edwards’ The Memory Keeper’s Daughter.  Unlike last week’s novel, this is just the sort of story I enjoy.  So without further ado…

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