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Levittown, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

2010/05/21

This week I read Levittown, which I’ll tell you about.  Yesterday, I started “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards.  I’m very choosy when it comes to fiction, and I resisted “Memory Keeper” for a long time.  I don’t know why.  I probably was afraid it would be boring, but it isn’t.  The story is fascinating, the writing is more than adequate.  I started it yesterday, and I’m about 1/3 of the way through.  It’s a quick read.

Levittown was also a quick read.  A true story about the housing crisis & resulting plethora of suburbs built after WW2,  it interested me sociologically & psychologically.  This man & his 2 sons designed, built & I believe financed the 1st one on Long Island, for white people only.  Eventually they let Jews in, but were adamant about not letting African-Americans in, “but not because they were racists”.  By then it was unlawful to discriminate thus, but the Levitts quietly disregarded the law.   An African-American family  moved into Levittown, PA in  1957, and there were riots because the Whites felt their property values would plummet. 

There were some interesting things in the book.  The family, the Myers, had Virginia ties.  She was from Richmond, Jackson Ward, and the book discussed the segregation here when  she was a child.  Her name was Daisy, and she met Bill Myers while both were attending Hampton Institute.  He was from York, PA. 

Also, after Levittown & other suburbs were built excluding African-Americans, Malvina Reynolds wrote the song “Little Boxes” which was the theme song of “Weeds“, one of my favorite ever shows!  It makes me laugh out loud every episode.  The song is about the homogenous flavor of suburbs.

So, there’s my reading update.  I’m sure I’ll finish Memory Keeper this weekend, unless something really interesting comes up!  Ta!

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