The Sharecropper's Son

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
186 Pages
Reviewed on 02/08/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

The Sharecropper's Son by Bobby Dan Cobbs follows the life of Dusty, a young man trapped in the cycle of poverty and oppression in rural Alabama. In the cotton fields, Dusty is consumed by a family's history of exploitation stemming from slavery's aftermath, dreaming of escape but bound to the land and community expectations. The family's humble shotgun house offers little respite, and Dusty pushes forward in a world steeped in tradition and racial injustice. Through Dusty, Cobbs has us bear witness to the quagmire of sharecropper life, Dusty's defiance of stereotypes in baseball and academics, and his struggle against discrimination. Integration brings both promise and peril, and it just might take an expulsion from the community to mark a turning point in Dusty's quest for self-discovery and independence.

The amount of rich cultural detail, character depth, and diversity that Bobby Dan Cobbs puts into The Sharecropper's Son is extraordinary. There is a scene where the community is doing a “hog killing” and the sensory details give a true sense of place and atmosphere. From the sights and sounds of hog-killing to sugar cane grinding and the taste of homemade syrup and peanut candy, the language immerses us into what feels like a true, lived experience. Community is a common theme, even when it is juxtaposed against communities that are not Dusty's. There is a tradition of an Independence Day baseball game that brings together segregated communities for a day of camaraderie and enjoyment; the baseball game serves as a moment of unity and shared celebration. This is not an easy book to read but it is a good one, and I think all who pick it up will feel the same. Recommended.