Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case

I began reading Getting Away with Murder: The True Story of the Emmett Till Case before bed and I couldn’t stop reading until I had finished the book. However, my emotional reaction was so great that I could not sleep for hours after closing the book. Before reading the book I skimmed the pages and thought it was just going to a non-fiction book that would give me the facts, I as wrong. Chris Crowe, the author, did a wonderful job of not only telling the facts, but telling them in such a way that you felt the outrage as if you had been in Money, Mississippi during the trial after Emmett Till had been murdered.

I would not be opposed to using this book in the classroom. While I would definitely use it with older, high school readers, I think it is a great book to use in an English class while students are learning about civil rights in history. I would also use the book by itself. Students have the idea that all non-fiction books are boring, and this one would change their minds. Non-fiction is something students feel that they have to read in textbooks and for this reason they frequently dislike it. They would not feel that way about this book. While Crowe tells the facts, he writes them very well. He tells a story. He writes from so many different perspectives that with any other writer it could be confusing, but in Crowe’s writing it just makes the story clearer.

While I would worry about students’ emotional reactions to the book, I know that they would be able to handle it. It is definitely something I would bring up before, during, and after the reading. In addition, I think this book would be a great read-aloud. This is something students can take turns reading out loud or the teacher can read to the class. I think reading it as a class would make it easier to stop at certain parts and hold discussions.