Every now and then, a reader meets a book that bears rereading. I have found such a book in The Pecan Man by Cassie Dandridge Selleck.
The story is set in a small Florida town in the late 1970s. The “Pecan Man” is Eddie Mims, a homeless black man who is feared by everyone in the neighborhood. His life becomes intertwined with those of Ora Lee Beckwith, a middle-aged white woman, and her black maid Blanche, when a tragic crime happens to someone in Blanche’s family.
Ora Lee wants to go to the police, but Blanche will not hear of it. She believes her family will be at greater risk if the police hear of the matter. Ora Lee and Blanche agree to cover up the incident, a decision which leads to more tragedy and a great injustice.
Through the events that follow, Ora Lee, the narrator, learns lesson after lesson about the advantages and attitudes her white privilege has afforded her.
The Pecan Man is a quick and entertaining read. I found myself torn between reading to see what happened and stopping to think about a passage here and there. Reading straight through won this time, but I will read the book again. The Pecan Man would be a good discussion book.
Note to my English teacher friends: If you’re looking for new titles for the classroom, The Pecan Man is a good candidate.
Happy Free-Reading Friday!
Photo credit: Public domain