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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Iowa, 1948. Readers are presented with a bleak illustration of intolerance in America when you are judged by your skin color. In the Blood is inspirational in its plot, yet manages to picture a setting that is dangerous for a band of black jazz musicians with a young white girl as a saxophonist. David Hoing and Roger Hileman provide rich literary material for exploring dilemmas of the human experience as they introduce us to K.C. Brown, a nineteen-year-old Caucasian saxophonist. Being free-spirited and with a natural inclination for music, she is determined to achieve her goal to become a professional musician, come hell or high water, even if it means defying the mores and strict segregation laws. As the band’s path to success is paved with dangers stemming from discrimination and prejudice, K.C. becomes a witness to America’s inhumanity, while developing a deep friendship with the band members, especially with Freddie “Boneman” Ross.
There are many novels and films that cover the topics of race and diversity and with young people dealing with the issue of being different or not fitting in. However, In the Blood as a novel tackles this subject matter effectively, as it provides an authentic view of black culture as experienced by a white protagonist. The story does not only focus on the relationship between K.C. and Freddie but as a traveling band, the reader is exposed to the indignities that the black man had to experience in post-World War II America. In writing this novel, David Hoing and Roger Hileman should not be mistaken for attempting to heal racism. Rather, they remind us that getting to know people who are different from ourselves never hurts and that it is an important step in nurturing acceptance and overcoming prejudice.