Melissa Foster's book, Have No Shame, starts tenderly with eighteen year old Alison who is fresh out of high school and eager to make her family proud by doing what is expected in the Deep South in the late 1960s: marrying a white man, putting dinner on the table, keeping the house tidy, and eventually raising children. But when Alison finds the dead victim of a hate crime floating in a river and she experiences both her fiance's reaction and that of the townspeople, she begins to question her life and the values and expectations with which she was raised.
Enter in a handsome, intelligent and thoughtful young black man, and her life truly gets complicated. Emboldened by her older sister's progressive ideas and Alison's own rapidly changing views of the world, her safe and comfortable life is about to turn upside down. Once the momentum begins, there is no going back to the sickening bigotry that she had always taken for granted as "normal." This book pulls you in close to the characters, the time, and the struggles of the time. Foster's characters are real, and the reader does not know just exactly how lives will be forever changed until the end of the book. I found it very hard to put down, and stayed up way too late to finish it. You see it, you smell it, you fear for your new-found friends, and your heart pounds alongside theirs!
Whew. What a ride; What a read!
Well done, Melissa Foster!