Sabrina White, Editor-in-Chief
Cheryl Reid’s novel “As Good As True” brings a new perspective to the civil rights era in the South. The novel looks through the eyes of a Syrian woman, recounting her broken past and struggle with the death of her husband during a tumultuous time for her community when the first black postman is appointed to deliver mail to the “white” side of town.
The books description from the inside cover reads, “August 1956. After a night of rage and terror, Anna Nassad wakes to find her abusive husband dead and instinctively hides her bruises and her relief. As the daughter of Syrian immigrants living in segregated Alabama, Anna has never belonged, and now her world is about to erupt. Days before, Anna set in motion an explosive chain of events by allowing the first black postman to deliver mail to her house. But it’s her impulsive act of inviting him inside for a glass of water that raises doubts about Anna’s role in her husband’s death. As threats and suspicions arise in the angry community, Anna must confront her secrets in the face of devastating turmoil and reconcile her anguished relationship with her daughter. Will she discover the strength to fight for those she loves most, even if it means losing all she’s ever known?”
The book weaves together mystery, a tragic story of abuse and brokenness, and the turmoil of being an outsider in the segregated south in a way that is so easy and interesting to read. There are accounts of domestic violence, so readers should be wary of these scenes if they plan to read the novel. The story is captivating and brings new perspective to the segregation story of the southern United States, as Anna being a Syrian immigrant who married into a wealthy Syrian family that was considered “white” and struggled with her connection to the “colored” side of town where she grew up. It offers a very interesting view of tradition and culture, and the struggle that many Americans faced in the south during the beginnings of the civil rights movement.
The book itself was well written and flowed and kept me reading page after page. It is a book I would recommend to those who enjoy historical fiction, as the story feels so real and the author inserts you directly into the life of Anna Nassad. Reid does a wonderful job of creating a very dynamic character, weaving suspicion and mystery as well as emotional scenes into the novel as it progresses.