Book Review: The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

I have mixed feelings about this novella. While I love the Lovecraftian setting and story, the characters, especially Charles Thomas Tester and his relationship with his father, the story feels thin, rushed, and the emotional turning points that triggered twist wasn’t there for me. This was disappointing as the novella has so much to give. It handles racism, segregation, and growing in a poor neighborhood. Novella also takes into account the generational feelings about where to reach and what to want from your life. It also shows the brutality and indifference of the police. Despite the story being situated in the 20s, the picture painted holds too true nowadays. We like to pretend that everything has gotten better, but structural racism has only taken another form. Thusly, novellas like this one are essential. Especially when the forefather of this genre, the inventor, was racist himself.

So, in short, I’m in love with the world created, the issues handled, the setting, and Tommy, but I didn’t click that much with Malone, who we are following the second half of the novella, or how the story was executed. This novella would have needed another layer of love and care, and then it would have been perfect.

Thank you for reading! Today is a slippery slope to the path of the forgotten gods. Do not get scared, if you blink twice, swirl around your left leg counterclockwise, you will be fine, but remember to say the magic word which is…

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