The Little Known
What more can you say about a story than, when you’re done reading it, you wish you weren’t. Such is the feeling I had when I finished reading The Little Known. I wanted to follow the main character, Knot, out of the book and into his life to see how he lived the rest of it. Set in our near-history of the infant civil rights movement the author, Janet Daugherty, pulls us into a captivating world of poverty, violence, indifference, love and hope. She does this without making us feel guitly for not knowing it exists while simultaneously sharpening our sensibilities towards it.
Ms. Daugherty does not beat us over the head with The Movement, but instead gives us a glimpse into what may have been happening in the minds and homes all around it. The good, the bad, the lovely and the ugly are spread alike through communities of all color, economic circumstance, and gender. I, for one, found that a refreshing relief.
Here's the gist:
When twelve-year-old Knot finds himself in possession of a great deal of money, he does what we’d all like to think we’d do – help others. Even though he knows the money is stolen the balance of his struggle is about what the money can do more than who the money belongs to.
Though his initial intention is to help only a few, Knot helps many, finding along the way that human behaviour cannot be predicted or controlled by another’s good intentions. His generosity is not always rewarded with a changed life or a sudden 'seeing the light'. Sometimes instead of food there's a new television or an extra bottle for the alcoholic's stash. His disappointment is keen but it doesn't deter him from keeping up the good works, and while the worldly wise among us may smile sagely, young Knot struggles on. Still, by the end of the story lives have been improved and we hope Knot’s life, off the page, improves as well.
If there were stars for this book, I'd give it a lot.
PS: This publisher passed on my book.
Image: Free digital photos