Hoosier Hysteria

Indiana University, September 1963. Meri Henriques, a naïve freshman from New York, arrives on campus thinking she’s about to enroll at an idyllic Midwestern college. Instead, she discovers a storm is brewing.

An intriguing cast of characters inhabits Meri’s new and often troubled world: Katherine “Pixie” Gates, Meri’s charming and quirky roommate; Rachel, brilliant and sarcastic fellow New Yorker; Daniel, a tough radical with a tender heart; folk singer Derek Stone, Meri’s crush; and Shennandoah Waters, a white coed who only dates black men or exotic foreigners, much to her ultra-conservative parents’ horror.

Over the course of Meri’s first year at college, tragedy strikes twice: John Kennedy is assassinated, and a young, black IU basketball player is castrated and thrown into a ditch―murdered for dating a white coed. And finally, that year’s commencement ceremonies bring an infamous symbol of white supremacy to campus, endangering anyone who dared to protest―thrusting Meri into the middle of violent and escalating racial tensions. Vivid and compelling, Hoosier Hysteria is a timely story of prejudice and political unrest that, today more than ever before, must be told.

My Review

I liked reading about Meri's story. I can imagine now what it was like growing up and attending college in the early sixties. It was not easy. Yet, it was even harder if you were of color. I know I did not have an easy time when I attending public school as a little girl. I was made fun of because of my nationality. However, as I was young, I could not understand why it was happening but this allowed me to form bonds with other friends that were considered "outcasts". One of my friends with black and deaf. I learned sign language to be able to speak with her.

Back to Meri. Reading what she went through and what our world is like now is sad. This book does stir up some emotions and makes you grow closer to Meri. However, as much as I did like this book, I didn't form that strong bond. For me when I am reading a memoir or other nonfiction story I want to really become "lost" in the subject matter or story. As I said, this was not the case for me. Don't let me dissuade you from checking out this book.
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