Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Story That Helped Shatter Racial Tensions (Book Review)

More Than Rivals is a book based on a true story by Ken Abraham.

My husband read it before I could. And you must know, my husband HATES to read. But he loves basketball, and this racially tense story is a good one. He couldn't put it down.

It's based on two basketball phenoms, Eddie Sherlin and Bill Ligon in the small town of Gallatin, TN in 1970, when racial tensions were high in the south and desegregation was forced upon the schools.

(As a white woman that has grown up in the south, I have seen and heard things that infuriate me. However, nothing like what occurred 40 years ago.  I can't imagine living in a time of such small mindedness and hate.)

More Than Rivals, is the story of Eddie and Bill who took a chance on friendship, bound by a love of basketball. Bill is the black boy that lives on the "black" side of town, while Eddie is the white kid who lives across the railroad tracks on the "white" side. They eventually are forced to go their separate ways, as Bill's mom moves them a few miles down the road. But in this small town where it was forbidden for blacks and whites to walk on the same side of the sidewalk together, much less play together, it might as well have been across the world.

They grow up on their respective sides of town and in their separate high schools, however it's not long before fate pushes them together for one last matchup that will not only change their lives, but those of their small town.

I enjoyed the book, but felt like it jumped around a lot between the characters, so there were times I had trouble following along. But overall a very impactful read.

About the book: More than Rivals, written by Ken Abraham.

An Inspiring True Story Set in the Midst of the Civil Rights Era

By 1970, racial tension was at a breaking point in the southern town of Gallatin, Tennessee. Desegregation had emotions running high. The town was a powder keg ready to erupt. But it was also on the verge of something incredible.

Eddie Sherlin and Bill Ligon were boys growing up on opposite sides of the tracks who shared a passion for basketball. They knew the barriers that divided them--some physical landmarks and some hidden in the heart--but those barriers melted away when the boys were on the court. After years of playing wherever they could find a hoop, Eddie and Bill entered the rigors of their respective high school teams. And at the end of the 1970 season, all-white Gallatin High and all-black Union High faced each other in a once-in-a-lifetime championship game. What happened that night would challenge Eddie and Bill--and transform their town.

(I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.)

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