Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Anywhere You Run by Wanda M. Morris


After reading and loving ALL HER LITTLE SECRETS, I knew I had to get my hands on anything else this author wrote. ALL HER SECRETS was a lot like an airport thriller: addictive and fast-paced. ANYWHERE YOU RUN is paced more like one of those domestic thrillers where a woman with lots of skeletons in her closet is on the run from her past. Set in the 1960s, it's about two Black women who have plenty to hide. One is a murderess, the other is on the cusp of social shame. Both end up running, but there are plenty of people chasing them down.

I don't want to say too much but I loved how this book overlaps with ALL HER LITTLE SECRETS (it's also set in Chillicothe). Violet and Marigold are both incredibly strong women, with very different problems. I liked how Violet would do whatever was necessary for survival and I thought it was interesting how her prettiness bought her so much trouble and bad attention, and made her second-guess what people wanted her for. Marigold, on the other hand, was intelligent but insecure, and her naivete could cause her to get betrayed. It was so satisfying seeing them grow and gain confidence over the course of the story, which was tightly plotted and connected in various interesting ways. Can I write like this when I grow up? is what I kept thinking, as I read.

The author had a note in the beginning of the book talking about how she uses language that fits the times, and the people who used it, even if she doesn't endorse it personally. I respect that because I think it's important to portray history as it really was. In ANYWHERE YOU RUN, you see people working hard to advance civil rights, and you also see the people who are determined to forestall that at any costs. In the beginning of the book, three civil rights activists (two white people, one Black person) are murdered at the hands of racist Missourians who want to keep the status quo. This sets the tone for a book that shows the reality of segregation and large-scale, openly endorsed infrastructural racism.

I would have given this five stars, but I felt like the writing could be very repetitive at times and the ending felt just a little unsatisfying in one very notable regard. (No spoilers, though!) That said, I finished this in less than twenty-four hours and I'm pretty sure that Wanda M. Morris is now officially an autobuy author for me. I just hope I'll be able to get a new fix soon.

4 to 4.5 out of 5 stars

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