Title: The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 (Audio)
Author: Christopher Paul Curtis
Narrator: Levar Burton
Length: 4 hours and 47 minutes
Acquired: Local library
Awards: Newbery Honor, Coretta Scott King Honor
Personal Enjoyment Factor: 4.5/5
Ten-year old Kenny, with a lazy eye and a talent for reading, tell us the story of his family, the "Weird Watsons", and their life in freezing Flint, Michigan. His humorous tale focuses primarily on his older brother Byron who just can't seem to stay out of trouble. When there seems no other hope for Byron other than sending him to live with his Grandma in Birmingham, Alabama, the whole family takes a road trip south, where they will encounter first hand the violence of that time and place.
The best testament I can give of the greatness of this book is that I was listening to it in the car, which I normally can't do--my mind usually wanders, so I mainly stick to house-cleaning audio-book experiences. But I was completely engaged in the story from beginning to end. I laughed, I cried, I loved the characters and hurt when they were hurting, and rejoiced when they found little joys in life. Curtis is one of those authors that can blend humor with tragedy in a beautiful and novel way, and I love it! The audio version is read by LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow guy!!) and he does a superb job.
I've read Bud, Not Buddy (Newbery winner, I believe) by Curtis, and remember really liking it, but I read it pre-blog days, and my memory is hazy. All that comes to mind is oatmeal and brown sugar, and I'm not really sure why. It's sad that sometimes those silly things are all I remember about a good book. But at least I know I can enjoy it all over again someday as if I had never read it before. Elijah of Buxton is next of my Curtis TBR list, sitting right on my library book shelf and awaiting the 48 Hour Book Challenge coming up in early June.