Weekend Reading- The Sacrifice
Joyce Carol Oates is one America’s most respected authors.
Above that she is one of America’s most prolific authors. She has authored more novels(both adult and young adult), short story collections, mysteries, essays, etc than she has lived years and that’s clearly amazing considering she is in her mid 70’s.
Her latest, “The Sacrifice” is a fictionalized retelling of a true incident that occurred in 1987 known as the Tawana Brawley story in which a black teen reported to have been kidnapped and raped by several white men including a police officer–a horrible tale later determined by a grand jury to be false.
Oates has never been afraid of the touchy issues-racism, poverty, unpopular wars, sexual abuse,incest,violence, corruption, racial profiling. This novel is set in a blighted, impoverished New Jersey town where skin color affects everything. Sybilla Frye is the young girl whose ordeal we follow in this 309 page novel. She lives with her mother Ednetta and her sanitation truck driver step father in the most unenviable of situations. After her ordeal a female police officer tries to befriend and help her. This officer is Hispanic thus bringing into the novel a secondary racial scenario. Sybilla’s case is exploited by two brothers, one a lawyer, the other a preacher who smell money and publicity in the promotion of her case.
This is a raw, honest, brutal book so well written that the art overshadows the brutality. “The Sacrifice” is spot on relevant in the shadow of Ferguson and the attention to police/racial treatment in recent months.