Happy rainy Tuesday! There has been a flash flood warning in my area since last night and it has been raining steadily. Hopefully, the winds will stay calm and my hundred year old American Beech tree will remain standing.
Teen Tuesday features Kneel by Candace Buford. Rus Boudreaux and his best friend, Marion LaSalle are co-captains of their football team entering their senior year with high hopes for a winning season, another chance at the state championship and a football scholarship to a D-1 college. A scholarship is their only way out of their racially segregated parish in Louisiana. At the start of their second game of the season, against the team's rival, one of the white co-captains hurls a racial slur after the coin toss and the other sucker punches Marion. The refs turn a blind eye to the slur and don't defend Marion as he is hauled off the field in handcuffs and eventually beaten by police for "resisting arrest." Rus knows that Marion's chances for a scholarship are nonexistent if he can't play football, so he takes a knee during the national anthem at the next game, earning himself the ire of his coach, his teammates, his parents and the press as the media choose to portray him and Marion as thugs.
Rus' first-person narrative is compelling from the start as this thoughtful athlete tries to play by rules that seem to change at the whim of the privileged. Kneel is the author's debut and it's an impressive one peopled with complex characters dealing with real issues of poverty, racism and broken dreams.