Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ringside 1925: Views from the Scopes Trail By Jen Bryant

Written for Young Adults, but Just as Engaging for Adults

The year is 1925 in small town Tennessee. The school year is winding down and the children are excited about having a laid back summer. However, when it comes to the towns peoples attention that the science teacher, J. T. Scopes taught Darwin’s theory of evolution in class, he is arrested and the children realize it won’t be the same summer they planned after all.

The title Ringside is quite accurate, as the town turns into a virtual circus for the trail with nationwide publicity: reporters, lawyers, scientists, religious leaders, and tourists. The only drugstore in town orders in all kinds of monkey memorabilia to sell and even rents a real monkey to sell the items. Many of the towns people also cash in by setting up tables outside the courthouse to sell food and all kinds of things.

Some of the friendships in town became strained because of the differing point of views. In the end, some friends were able to come to terms with their differences and even see their friend’s point of view but a few could not.

Bryant tells the story from the town’s people’s and reporter’s point of view, each narrating in turn. By writing it this way, we really get to know the town and all it’s people, both it’s children and adults with differing point of view.

She writes in fresh lyrical prose. This small and fast paced book really packs a punch. Both children and adults will learn more about the real life Scopes trial while being thoroughly entertained at the same time.

I loved this book and highly recommend it! What a gem!


A special thanks to Jen Bryant for sending me a copy of this extraordinary book!

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