Book Review: The Tugging String By David Greenberg


Duvy Greenberg is the son of NAACP lawyer Jack Greenberg, the close friend of Thurgood Marshall.  But that doesn’t matter. While Duvy cares about what he sees on TV and what he hears whispered from his parents’ bedroom, he is far more interested in not making a fool of himself in Football than Civil Rights. In Selma Alabama, Dorthy Milton wants to vote, but as a black woman living in the segregated south, this is easier said than done.  When she fails the ridiculous test that racist voting officials make up for her, Dorthy is determined to see change. She is ready for action and lucky for her, the Doctor Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. is coming to Selma and she might just be able to help.  An interesting blend of historical fiction and autobiography, this book alternates between the fictionalized childhood of the author, son of a prominent Civil Rights Lawyer, and the dramatized events that occurred in Selma Alabama, 1965.


The Tugging String is interesting because the author is the actual son of NAACP lawyer, Jack Greenberg.  Using memories from his childhood and fictionalization of historical events, Greenberg weaves a masterful piece of historical fiction that brings to life the troubling events of the Selma Montgomery marches and American life in 1965.  The book skips between Duvy and Dorthy’s perspectives and it is interesting because, unlike in most dual point of view (POV) books, the two main characters are completely different, both in their ages and their walk of life. On top of that, they never meet anytime during the story.  The stories do not connect very much and while they are somewhat parallel, it’s a crooked kind of parallel.  However, the dual POV sheds an interesting light on the riots in Selma, offering a close-up perspective with Dorthy while Duvy feels and sees the effects of the marches from afar.  The book perfectly captures a national struggle with racism, fear and freedom. It brings to life a period of American history clearly and honestly.  The book stays pretty close to history and is realistic in tone, yet the drama of the times is enough on its own to ensure a thrilling read. I would highly recommend The Tugging String by David Greenberg.  

  • Age:  9 – 99
  • Awards:  None
  • Pages: 167
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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