Friday, July 31, 2015

Black Dove White Raven

Book: Black Dove White Raven
Author: Elizabeth Wein

Emilia and Teo's lives changed in a fiery, terrifying instant when a bird strike brought down the plane their stunt pilot mothers were flying. Teo's mother died immediately, but Em's survived, determined to raise Teo according to his late mother's wishes-in a place where he won't be discriminated against because of the color of his skin. But in 1930s America, a white woman raising a black adoptive son alongside a white daughter is too often seen as a threat.

Seeking a home where her children won't be held back by ethnicity or gender, Rhoda brings Em and Teo to Ethiopia, and all three fall in love with the beautiful, peaceful country. But that peace is shattered by the threat of war with Italy, and teenage Em and Teo are drawn into the conflict. Will their devotion to their country, its culture and people, and each other be their downfall or their salvation?-Goodreads

Review: The first 100 pages of this book were extremely slow and boring. I actually thought about giving up on the book (a rarity for me) but this is Elizabeth Wein, so I stuck with it.  The biggest challenge was that I found Teo and Emilia's voices to be almost identical. If it weren't for the different font and notification of who wrote what, I really would have been lost. I also didn't warm up to their mother, Rhoda. I understand she and the kids had to go to Ethiopia for the story to work, but the premise of how they arrived was just so unrealistic (not the fact that she wanted to go, but that she was basically depressed, had limited funds and then one day-woosh! Kids, we're moving to Africa). 

Now, once the story moves to Africa I really enjoyed it. The most fascinating part of this was the historical aspect and I kept saying to myself "Wow, that's so interesting. I didn't know that." It takes place before WWII and Italy was trying to invade Ethiopia. They even gassed them at one point and there was limited response from the rest of the world. It was absolutely heartbreaking. I really enjoyed the flying lessons in the book as well as the relationship between Teo, Em and the rest of the people in their town. I'll avoid spoilers but Teo and Em are forced to grow up quickly when certain revelations were made, and like the other Wein books I've read, I found myself in tears at a few different points. 

Overall-slow, boring start but it picks up eventually.  A really interesting historical read. 

Grade: 4/5

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