Summer of 1973 and I was not quite seventeen. My mother, not much of a reader, urged me to read Five Smooth Stones. Semi-reluctantly, I opened up the 900 page paperback was quickly swept up in the life of David and Sara who meet at college and ultimately marry during the early part of the American civil rights movement. The catch? David is African American and Sara is white.
I was raised by a moderately racist father and an enabling mother. Racially charged protests and riots had been held all over the country, even in my hometown, during the previous ten years. I never asked why. I was afraid of Black people.
Five Smooth Stones made me look at African Americans in a different way. It was the first book I’d read with non-white main character and I think I fell in love with him. I certainly loved his grandfather, who I fondly remember to this day. It also taught me about the civil rights movement and why African Americans were protesting. It changed me.
I think that is what my mother was hoping when she put the book in my hands and urged me to read it. I hope so.
7 thoughts on “183/365 A book that changed my life”
This is a great story. Thanks for this.
Your mother sounds like she gave you lots through the gift of books (just read your most recent post as well).
She did, Helen, and I hope she knew how much I appreciated it.
I am sure that is the exact reason why your mother told you to read it. As Helen said, a gift.
All mothers should be that thoughtful. Such a familiar title, but the plot doesn’t sound like something I’ve read. In the summer of ’73 I was very pregnant with my first child. She was born on Labor Day.
Smiling as I read this because I’m remembering all my love affairs with fine men inside the covers of books.
I have no doubt that your are correct regarding your mother’s intentions.
This is by far my favourite month.