Have No Shame
Author: Melissa Foster
Publisher: World Literary Press
Publication Date: 6 May 2013
The racially-charged prejudice of the deep South forces eighteen-year-old Alison Tillman to confront societal norms—and her own beliefs—when she discovers the body of a hate crime victim, and the specter of forbidden love turns her safe, comfortable world upside down.
Alison has called Forrest Town, Arkansas home for the past eighteen years. Her mother’s Blue Bonnet meetings, her father toiling night and day on the family farm, and the division of life between the whites and the blacks are all Alison knows. The winter of 1967, just a few months before marrying her high school sweetheart, Alison finds the body of a black man floating in the river, and she begins to view her existence with new perspective. The oppression and hate of the south, the ugliness she once was able to avert her eyes from, now demands her attention.
When a secretive friendship with a young black man takes an unexpected romantic turn, Alison is forced to choose between her predetermined future, and the dangerous path that her heart yearns for.
HAVE NO SHAME is an emotionally compelling coming of age novel featuring a young woman who cannot reconcile the life she wants with the one she’s been brought up to live. Have No Shame will resonate with anyone who has ever fallen in love, and those who have been forced to choose between what they know in their hearts to be true, and what others would like them to believe.
Have No Shame sent me on a crazy emotional rollercoaster! It immediately captured my interest with a compelling beginning, and it kept me up all night.
Alison is a normal 18 year-old girl in Arkansas in 1967, she's preparing to marry her high school sweetheart and life seems to be pretty perfect. Everything changes for Alison when she discovers the beaten and bloated body of a coloured man in a river. Her eyes are opened to the treatment of black people in her town, particularly her own fiance's cruel and hateful attitude. Her world is shaken even more when she befriends Jackson, a young coloured man, and the forbidden attraction between them grows.
Poor, poor Alison. She really goes through a lot, before finding the path her heart truly wants. She's very sheltered and rather naive at the beginning of the story. After discovering the body, she can no longer ignore the ugly attitudes of the people in her town towards coloured people and struggles to feel comfortable in her own skin and home. Alison realises too late the brutish and callous nature of Jimmy Lee, her high school sweetheart and fiance. Alison is trapped by other people's expectations, and I found myself begging for her to find the strength to choose her own path. I was relieved to find that by the end of the book, she was a lot more determined and strong, and could do what she thought was right.
Jackson shows Alison what real love is like, but he won't stay in Forrest Town, not when he knows how much better life is for coloured people elsewhere.
The secondary characters were also interesting and had depth. Maggie, Alison's sister, was easily the most memorable. She goes to school in New York, and is involved in the civil rights movement and knows just how backwards and wrong the attitudes in Forrest Town are. She's such a good influence on Alison, and without her this story would have been very different.
This was a fascinating and haunting look into the racially divided world of the deep south in the sixties. The differences between New York and Forrest Town were vast, and it gave me such hope for Alison and Jackson!
Alison and Jackson's relationship was forbidden and dangerous for both of them, which served to make it all the more poignant and heart breaking. I was urging them towards their happy ending with all of my heart!
This was the first book I've read by Melissa Foster, and it certainly won't be the last after reading this powerful and emotional book.
*I received a review copy of the book, for my honest opinion. Thank you!
About the Author
Melissa Foster is an award-winning, International bestselling author. Her books have been recommended by USA Today's book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary Café. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.
Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.
Visit Melissa on The Women’s Nest, Fostering Success, or World Lit Cafe.
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