Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case
In 1955, Richard Loving fell in love with Mildred Delores Jeter. The only problem was that any relationship they had with each other would be labeled as illegal because Richard was white and Mildred was black. Despite all of the obstacles before them, these two teenagers struggled through the prejudice of 1950s segregation and Jim Crow to fight for their love in front of the US Supreme Court.
"The number of pictures and representative images of the time period made the book read a lot easier because I was more immersed in the environment of 1950s America, and that made it easier to connect with these real-life characters who had to suffer through the prejudice of the time."
LOVING VS. VIRGINIA by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Shadra Strickland, tells the incredible true story of the Supreme Court Case that legalized interracial marriage. The case took place before the large prevalence of the Civil Rights Movement in America, but brought to light the flaws in our country’s past ideals of segregation. LOVING VS. VIRGINIA is labeled as a novel, but it almost read as an epic poem, which I loved because it made the story a lot more like a fairytale. The number of pictures and representative images of the time period made the book read a lot easier because I was more immersed in the environment of 1950s America, and that made it easier to connect with these real-life characters who had to suffer through the prejudice of the time.
My favorite part was when there were short snippets of historical events tied to the civil rights movement that occurred in correlation to the progression of the story. For example, the author briefly explained the Brown vs. the Board of Education court case and the experiences of the Little Rock Nine in order to create more perspective in terms of the time period, and how society was reacting to the movement against segregation. This created a larger effect on the story for me because it made me realize just how hard the struggle through the court system must have been for the Loving’s because society was really resisting change at the time.
I do wish that the book was a little longer because since the book was told more as an epic poem it glazed over certain aspects of their lives, and it skipped three to five years of their life at a time. I read this book in a day both because I couldn’t put it down, which was great, but also because it was relatively short. I wanted more to the story, but it seemed like the purpose of the novel was to bring attention to this revolutionary civil rights event.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book as a general overview for the court case, but if you are looking for a more in depth reading of this story then I would look elsewhere.
Reviewed by Harleen K., Teen Board Member on February 27, 2017