Every once in awhile you read a book that just sticks with you. You think about it weeks, or even months, after reading it. It can change the way you look at the world around you. This is one of those books.
The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser tells the story of a young, white, wealthy girl in Atlanta – Mary Swan Middleton. The small town she lives in gets shaken by the death of many of their prominent citizens during a plane crash overseas. Mary Swan’s mother is one of them. While she deals with the loss of her mother, Mary Swan finds refuge in the company of their housekeeper who has always been there for her. The older black woman gets Mary Swan to volunteer with her and to show her that giving to others helps take your mind off of yourself. That is when she meets Carl, a young black boy that befriends her. As their friendship grows, Mary Swan learns of the struggles of other people. Struggles that barely compare to her own. The families that she grows close to are not wealthy and do not share the same privileges as she is accustomed to, but she sees the sense of unity and family that she has never had.
Mary Swan is faced with decisions that she is forced to make while the world around her is dealing with segregation. She is torn between what she has always grown up around and the new realities that she has seen.
This book will leave you thinking of what decisions would you have made if you were living during this unpredictable time. Would you be resistant to change? Would you be willing to change your mind? Would you see people for who they are or only as a grouped race?
I like to incorporate living books in our homeschool as much as possible and this book, while fictional, gives great insight to this historical time.