Having Our Say by Sarah Delaney and Elizabeth Delaney
Sarah and Elizabeth Delany (known by Sadie and Bessie) have lived over 100 years and still going strong. In their book Having Our Say, the two sisters discuss what it’s been like as black women from the end of the 19th century in the Reconstruction South to the end of the 20th century. With their feisty manner and conversational writing, these two sisters showed how they and other members of their family broke barriers between the races and worked their way into professions that others wouldn’t have questioned at the time.
This book shows how different black lives have been from the beginning of the century to end of it. Even though they lived in semi luxury by growing up on a college campus and being protected by their parents and campus staff. However, as they started to grow up, they saw more of what their people were going through. This is a good look at two individuals and their experiences with segregation and prejudice.
The Love Letters by Beverly Lewis
Marlena Wenger is spending the summer with her Mennonite grandmother in order to help around the house. She greatly misses her beau Nat with whom she hopes to marry in the next year. Everything takes a turn when her estranged sister Luella is in a horrible accident and Marlena is asked to take care of her baby niece. She’s determined to keep to the Old Order Amish ways in spite of events that are gently pulling her in another direction.
Beverly Lewis focuses on many different issues in this book including homelessness, adoption, and mental illness. How far are we supposed to go to help others in spite of apparent dangers? What are our roles in helping out those who are different from us? And how do we react when what we always believed to be true is no longer? I think she did a good job in answering some of these questions. I do wish that she had fleshed out more of Jake’s character and his family. We can see the father being distant and cold, but why was he the way he was? And why did he suddenly change to being a warm, loving man? This seems to be a stand-alone novel when it could’ve easily been extended into a sequel. It would have been better to answer some of these questions.