“Stay The Course,” by E. D. Arrington
Review by Cynthia Brian
5 STARS *****
Hate is Learned. Love is Color Blind.
“Education is Freedom!” is the title of the mesmerizing poem that comprises the final chapter, and, is the theme that runs throughout E. D. Arrington’s novel, Stay The Course. This riveting novel chronicles the heart-wrenching story of a grandmother’s [affectionately called, Ma] lifelong dream…to witness one of her own earn a high school diploma. To Ma, education equaled freedom. Knowledge was the way out of poverty, discrimination, and opened the door for that better day. The poem, “Education is Freedom,” takes the reader on an emotional journey that clearly conveys the power of education from verbal knowledge passed down during the days of the African slave man to the election of the first American scholar of African descent to serve as President of the free world. Stay The Course is a celebration of faith, prayer, resilience, and the lasting legacy adults can leave by urging youth to Stay The Course.
Based on true-life experiences of the author, Stay the Course follows the roller-coaster, bumpy road of Lori, a kind, yet determined young girl who is forced to endure the inescapable struggles of the desegregation of schools in an extremely prejudice Southern town. Although she is an innately gifted, talented, and smart young girl, Lori endures every type of prejudice and injustice, not only from other children, but from those in positions of authority who should have, and whose professional duty, was to protect her from the hatred. Instead, teachers, the bus driver, and even the school principal were perpetrators, punishing the innocent “Negro” child for offenses she did not commit.
But in spite of the ongoing hurtful ordeals, Lori’s wise and gentle grandmother continues to dispense words of wisdom filled with compassion, understanding, and willful fortitude to stand against the odds and weather the bumps and obstacles on her road – tragedy, sorrow, disappointment, and betrayal. Ma refuses to ever give up hope that Lori will survive and be the one who helps paves the way for future generations. “There’s only one way you’ll ever know what’s waiting on you at the end of that road,” Ma said often to Lori. “You’ve got to stay the course.”
E.D. Arrington is an author, award-winning poet, [poem] and the founder of “It’s Time To Read With Me!” – a read aloud enrichment literacy program. Her works are featured on the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Recommended Reading List for good reason. Stay the Course resonates with the fact that we are all human and that every person, regardless of color, sex, religion, or creed deserves to be treated with respect and love. Every person is entitled to an education. Every individual was born to be free.
This book touched me on a very personal level. As the first person in my family to ever receive a college degree, I know what it feels like to work the fields, raise chickens, and drive a tractor to earn enough money to finance a dream of an education. Without determination, hard work, and bouncing back from setbacks, success is rarely achieved. Like the book, The Help, Stay the Course needs to be on every person’s reading agenda.
Until we become color blind, we cannot create peace and harmony in our world. Stay the Course empowers us to love, pray, and keep on going, despite the obstacles.
Read, lead, succeed…and stay the course.
Reviewed by Cynthia Brian, New York Times best selling author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener's Soul, Be the Star You Are!®, Be the Star You Are!® for TEENS, Miracle Moments®, and The Business of Show Business.
Listen to a stellar interview with author and award-winning poet, E.D, Arrington on Starstyle®-Be the Star You Are!® on World Talk Radio, http://starstyleradio.com/RADIO_SHOWS/Starstyle_Radio/Entries/2012/1/19_Stay_the_Course%2C_Flab_to_Fab%2C_Heroes.html
Cynthia Brian is a New York Times best selling author, TV/Radio personality, speaker, coach, and Founder of Be the Star You Are!® charity, www.CynthiaBrian.com, www.StarstyleRadio.com, www.BetheSTARyouAre.org
Causes Cynthia Brian Supports
Be the Star You Are! 501 c3 charity empowering women, families, and youth through improved literacy, positive media, and life skills.