Out of Darkness

Book review by Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Out of Darkness Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 15+

Beautifully written look at racism and love in 1930s Texas.

Parents say

age 16+

Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 18+

Based on 1 review

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A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Run Away!

Do not allow your child to read this book! It's NOT a Romeo/Juliet love affair about race division. This novel crosses some legal boundaries with the adult/child abuse and rape scenes. It is VERY detail, vivid, and graphic. It includes descriptive scenes of the main character being sexually abuse by her father. Years later, her pastor encourages her to marry her stepfather as a child. This book continues to get worse as it include graphic images of children violently harmed. Eventually, a bomb goes off at school and her little sister is killed- graphic descriptions of her body parts are all over. This novel is a canvas, showcasing child abuse. There isn't any healthy themes or solutions.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
2 people found this helpful.
age 14+

Great historical novel that puts in a very specific time and place

I heard about this book when some people showed up at a school board meeting demanding it be removed from all the libraries in each of the schools in the district. I researched it and saw the book had many accolades and was on many critics top ten list. So I bought a copy and started to read it. Overall the book took its time to introduce the characters. It didn't tell you so much as showed you about them. Some of the characters seem like good people but as you go along, you learn more about who they are and what they believe. I think it's probably a good lesson for kids to know you probably shouldn't make snap judgements about people, whether for good or for ill, until you get to know them. It covers the topic of race in the South (Texas) during the oil boom of the 1930s. It takes place in a camp where a young black boy falls in love with a Hispanic girl, and it being in the 1930s, people handle it about as well as you'd expect. So, it offers an important historical perspective about race I think most people may not be comfortable thinking or talking about. But I think it's important not to forget the draconian, populist racism people of color had to deal with at the time. The book also covers a topic most parents are too comfortable with. That is, it doesn't shy away from including the topics of sex and sex abuse. But it's not pornographic or even alluring or titillating in the slightest when the subject of sex briefly makes appearance, The sex stuff is usually brief, only a paragraph or two and doesn't make it sexy but matter of fact. I think it's delineates sex between loving individuals versus the loveless kind of sex that occurs in the dark. Kids are pretty smart and can tell the difference. Also, better to learn in a book than on the playground or Internet.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
1 person found this helpful.

Book Details

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