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Devil on My Heels

Review

Devil on My Heels

Until she starts asking questions, Dove Alderman's life in the small farming community of Benevolence, Florida, is quiet. She goes to the movies with her friends, is falling in love with her childhood friend --- the handsome and slightly rebellious Chase Tully --- and lives for her housekeeper Delia's key lime pie.

At first, the disturbances in Benevolence seem minor --- just a few fires of unknown origin. However, complications arise when the fires are blamed on the black migrant pickers who work on Dove's father's farm, among other places. As Dove investigates and the violence in the streets escalates, she finds corruption among the farmers she has known for years. Faced with the decision to stand against the Ku Klux Klan or lose everyone she loves, Dove learns that prejudice and oppression take many forms and are difficult to fight in the best of situations.

Dove's naiveté and determination are captured beautifully in this novel of the South in the time after World War II but before the civil rights movement. Issues such as racial prejudice and censorship are presented in a manner both timely and timeless, opening discussion and comparisons to our lives today. The slow pace of Dove's life in the opening is a strong, clear contrast to the action and frenzy at the end, showing the ways in which the implications of bigotry can change even the most average of people.

Reviewed by Carlie Webber on May 11, 2004

Devil on My Heels
by Joyce McDonald

  • Publication Date: May 11, 2004
  • Genres: Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0385731078
  • ISBN-13: 9780385731072