The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had

By:Kristin Levine

Book Reveiw

The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had

In the award winning historical fiction novel The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had by Kristin Levine, thirteen year old Dit (Harry Otis Sims) must face the struggles of having a colored best friend (Emma) in order to survive in a segregated town. The new postmaster (mailman) arrives and to everyone’s surprise the new family is colored. I knew that this book was going to be one to remember when I read the first page. I love this book because it has many adventures and lessons to learn from it. “This is the poignant story of a remarkable friendship and the perils of a small-town justice”.

Dit and Emma are “the unlikeliest of friends”. Emma is well educated and reads books for fun. While Dit goes fishing, plays outside, plays baseball, and climbs dirt mounds. Emma came from Boston and is very pristine while Dit has grown up in the small town of Moundville, Alabama on a farm with ten brothers and sisters. Emma has many nice dresses and shoes while Dit gets hand me downs and picks new shoes out of a big barrel. In 1917 colored people were discriminated against because of their skin color. Slavery was abolished in 1865 but segregation came into play and that is what Dit and Emma are facing in this book. The author held my interest very well because she always had a situation they were getting themselves into. The major theme of this novel is to not judge other people based on their looks and in this case their skin color. This is reveled because in the town of Moundville, Alabama many people discriminate the colored people that live there. This wonderful novel throws you for many loops and this makes this historical fiction novel standout from the rest.

Levine did an amazing job writing this novel and portrayed the historical piece very well. The author conveyed historical setting very well because she gave many examples of the town in that time period. For example she included the “general store” which was actually in Moundville. A picture was taken of the general store in 1936. The most enjoyable part of this book is that even though it was written in 2009 the book still sounds like it was written in that time period. The thing I admire about the author is all of the action that Levine includes, in this book there is always something going on. This book doesn’t miss a beat. Nothing in this book bothered me other than when the characters made a bad dissension which was good because Levine really got me hooked to this book.

The theme of The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had is clearly communicated as Dit learns to not judge people by the outside but instead the inside. I would give this wonderful story 5 out of 5 stars because it is a well written novel that makes you feel all kinds of emotions. I would recommend this book to everyone who enjoys adventure and a little love at the same time.

Historical Accuracy

I believe that The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had is historically accurate because it gave enough details to understand the historical setting which is 1917. Levine did not give as many historical details as other authors but she did get very specific. For example she mentioned how black postmasters (mailman) had to take the test (written exam for postmaster) every year while white postmasters would only take it once in their life. She also includes how the black people were treated by the white people. Another thing that the novel shows is how Emma and Dit have to go to two different schools just because of their skin color. Levine did not share to much historical details she shared just enough which made this book so good. Levine did not share any inaccuracies. Actually she mentions the general store in this novel and while I was conducting my research I came upon a picture of the general store. So I believe that Levine did a great job with the historical accuracy of this novel.

Short Informative Peice

“No good’s ever come out of a white boy hanging around a Negra girl”. Alabama was a key part of the plot in The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had because in 1917 in Alabama Jim Crow law and segregation came into play in. Jim Crow was a system that repressed the black citizens. Segregation was also huge in the south at this time. “Segregation is usually understood as a legal system of control consisting of the denial of voting rights, the maintenance of separate schools, and other forms of separation between the races”. The quote at the top shows the belief that a white boy shouldn’t be friends with a black girl which was the type of thinking from the era of Jim Crow and segregation

Short Narritive Peice

Dear Diary,

Today was the biggest let down of my life. Let me start from this morning. I woke to the excitement in my brothers and sisters faces. Then I remembered today was the day that the new postmaster came. I didn’t really care that we were getting a new postmaster the thing that I was excited about was that this postmaster had a son and he was my age. I quick got up and brushed my hair and teeth then went to the kitchen for breakfast. The smell of fresh eggs and slightly burnt toast caught my attention. I waited anxiously all day for the night train to arrive. It was now about 30 minutes before the train was supposed to arrive. I sat in a rocking chair on in front of Mrs.Pooley’s store wrapping my twine into a new baseball. Then I turned my head and saw the flicker of the trains’ headlight I got up and ran across the street to the train depot. The train bellowed with white smoke as it came to a screeching halt. The train door opened and Mr. Walker stepped into the doorway and Mrs. Walker followed. Then I saw a colored girl she looked to be about my age. She wore a dress with a ribbon in her hair. She held a small suitcase which I assumed held more dresses. I am upset that she is a girl but not only a girl she is so girly.


Elsie Baker - Hush A Bye Ma Baby (Missouri Waltz) 1917

Historical Event

East St. Louis Race Riot

Sunday, July 1st 1917 at 9pm

Saint Louis, MO, United States

St. Louis, MO

East St. Louis Race Riot broke out and it lasted until 7/3/1917. Forty People were killed and hundreds more were injured.
KETC | Living St. Louis | East St. Louis Race Riots
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