Zora Neale Hurston is an author who is best known for her novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Zora and Me is a middle grade novel by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon that imagines Zora as a young girl who loves to tell stories. It all starts when Sonny Wrapped wrestles an alligator... and loses. Then Zora and her friends meet a man who turns up dead soon after. A mystery ensues, and Zora has a theory: a half gator, half man creature is to blame.
Zora and Me is a book that was part of my son's Battle of the Books. It's a historical novel that takes place in the 1960s. There are issues of racial segregation and discrimination, bringing some of the issues of that time to life for young readers. I will note that the n-word is used in this novel, in an appropriate context, but it was a bit jarring for me and led to some questioning in my mind as to whether to call it out and explain it to my 9 year old who read this book. I have not, but I'm still wondering if it might warrant a discussion.
Overall, I have to say I wasn't crazy about Zora and Me. I have never read anything by Hurston, so perhaps fans of hers would enjoy this more. I didn't think it held a lot of interest for younger readers. It didn't for my son. It doesn't get into a lot of the historical issues. It focuses more on the mystery of who the murderer is. And it just didn't pull me in. My son found the mystery a bit too scary. And I really don't think he got much out of it from a historical fiction perspective.
My Rating: 3/5
This review was written based on a copy of Zora and Me that I purchased