Book Review of
I Will Not Fear
In 1957, Melba Beals was one of the nine African American students chosen to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. But her story of overcoming didn’t start–or end–there. While her white schoolmates were planning their senior prom, Melba was facing the business end of a double-barreled shotgun, being threatened with lynching by rope-carrying tormentors, and learning how to outrun white supremacists who were ready to kill her rather than sit beside her in a classroom. Only her faith in God sustained her during her darkest days and helped her become a civil rights warrior, an NBC television news reporter, a magazine writer, a professor, a wife, and a mother.
In I Will Not Fear, Beals takes readers on an unforgettable journey through terror, oppression, and persecution, highlighting the kind of faith needed to survive in a world full of heartbreak and anger. She shows how the deep faith we develop during our most difficult moments is the kind of faith that can change our families, our communities, and even the world. Encouraging and inspiring, Beals’s story offers readers hope that faith is the solution to the pervasive hopelessness of our current culture.
I read I will Not Fear by Melba Pattillio Beals as part of my nonfiction books for every state challenge. I am so glad that I choose this for my Arkansas book. The purpose of my nonfiction book for every state challenge is to push me outside of my normal reading comfort zone. I want to read books that I wouldn’t normally pick up. This book was just that.
I really didn’t know a lot about the nine African American students chosen to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. I knew a little bit about it from what I learned in school and on T.V., but my knowledge was limited. So, I really enjoyed reading this book from one of the nine kids that lived this event. The first half of this book was so good. I really enjoyed seeing this event through one of the kids. Reading how they felt, how scared they were, how adults made the decisions for them, and how cruel people can be. I can’t even begin to image what those nine kids went through. The book was well worth reading for that alone. It opened my eyes to an event that I knew only a small amount about.
However, I will say that I didn’t enjoy the second half of the book as much. I understand that what the author went through as a teenager made her who she was and what she became. When you go through an event like that it changes who you are and how you see things. But the second half of the book seem a little disjointed. Like maybe some of the content was there just to make the book longer. The book is a short one, so I get that, but I think the author could have gone into way more detail about her child and teen years and left out some of the other stuff about her later years. Overall though I am glad I read the book and recommend it even if you only read the first half.