Review of "Rock" by Katrina Parker Williams
Enslavement, murder, abuse, illness: there’s real trouble for the characters in Trouble Down South and Other Stories. The short stories take the reader on a journey to the past through a collection of interestingly crafted pieces of flawed humanness, social injustice, and redemption, and even humor.
The short story collection of historical fiction chronicles events spanning more than 150 years and addresses a wide range of experiences from African-American perspectives. The stories are set in the South amid a changing landscape in which the characters are forced to wrestle with the social issues surrounding Native Americans, slavery, racism, Prohibition, World War I, the Korean War, Civil Rights, the Vietnam War, health, religion, mental illness, and education.
This review is for a single story in the short story collection by Williams. "Rock" tells the story of a colored soldier after he returns home from serving his country honorably in WWII. This is a very simple story which, as I thought about it, kind of suited the simple people it described.
Rock, the afore mentioned soldier, is essentially abused and treated with contempt despite his having saved the life of a white man. While his situation is pitiable, I found it difficult to really connect with Rock. No character quirks are really given. Rock could have been any stranger. In a short story, I feel that it's important to immediately connect with the character in some way. Especially in cases of such extreme injustice.
There were a few run-on sentences, but overall the writing style in the story is solid. The author does a nice job giving you a feel for the time period in which this story takes place.
Reviewed by Alain Gomez