top of page

"Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case" by Patricia H

AUTHORS: Patricia Hruby Powell (Author) and Shadra Strickland (Illustrator)

PUBLISHER: Chronicle Books

PUBLISHED DATE: January 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1452125909

PAGES: 260

I listened to the audiobook on my library Hoopla account, and though I missed so much of Shadra's work, I loved this book, and look forward to reading the print copy.

I saw the HBO documentary The Loving Story a few years ago, and was very moved by this unforgettable portrait of a white man, Richard Loving, and a black woman , Mildred "Millie", who loved each other and went to great lengths to get and remain married to each other in segregated Virginia. The documentary, as well as this novel, made me very emotional. The book was narrated in alternate voices. I was initially put off by Adenrele Ojo's breathy southern accent, but I adjusted. I have scoured the internet trying to find the male narrator who read Richard's voice to no avail. He was very convincing. This is a novel in verse, but you wouldn't get that impression from listening to the audiobook. The story is beautiful, fluid, and gives emotion, information, and depth.

Powell does a good job of showing these two ordinary young people, whose love thrust them into the extraordinary by facing hate, racism, and segregation head on - all the way to the Supreme Court. This book doesn't go into all the legal battles the couple would endure, though it does touch on it - the novel is more about Richard and Millie, and the inner turmoil they faced. The story starts with Richard and Millie as teenagers - and the reader watches a typical teenage crush bloom into a family. Richard gets introduced to his privilege when he tries to take Millie to a "whites only" dance, and the pair are turned away at the door. This is Richard's introduction to the glaring inequality of segregation. The couple endure the opinions of friends and family, as well as the harsh treatment of local law enforcement, and then readers see segregation at its ugliest - when pregnant Millie is jailed for being married to Richard. Throughout the book, Millie takes the brunt of segregation - and at one point Richard even notes that the situation would be totally different if he were a black man and Millie a white woman.

This is a really great and important read, and definitely a book I will be re-reading. In print this time!

Recommendation: Required!

Audience: Young Adults and up

*I borrowed the audiobook from my library Hoopla account.

28 views0 comments
bottom of page