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Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Crooked Letter,Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin is the story of two boys, one black (Silas) and one white (Larry), who become friends in rural Mississippi. The story takes place in the late 1970s/early 1980s and there still seems to be a lot of racial tension here. Larry’s dad owns 500 acres and his own business while Silas’ mom works two jobs to make ends meet. The school the boys go to is 80% black and Larry is definitely the outsider, even among the white kids. Silas, on the other hand, is a popular ball player. As the story unfolds, Larry’s dad finally succeeds in driving a wedge between Larry and Silas (just forbidding them from being friends didn’t work) and a white girl that both boys like disappears. Larry is the last person known to have seen the girl and so everyone suspects him of murdering her and getting away with it. This ruins the rest of his life. Fast forward a quarter century or so and Silas is the town’s constable and Larry is a loner that faces constant abuse from the community. Everything escalates when another girl goes missing and Larry is the number one suspect because of the past. This was a good story and unusual in the portrayal of the well off white kid being a loner and actually a good kid (and adult). When you read about his father and the neighbor, Cecil, who are the two closest adult male role models he has, it’s amazing that he turns out as well as he does. Of course, this is only apparent to the reader through most of the story-most everyone else hates him. Great read!

Stacy W

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