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As a little girl, Trudy Herman is taught to stand up for truth by her much-loved grandfather. Then in 1943, Trudy’s childhood drastically changes when her family is sent to a German-American Internment Camp in Texas. On the journey to the camp, Trudy meets Ruth, who tells her and her friend Eddie the legend of the Paladins—knights of Emperor Charlemagne who used magic gifted to them by the heavens to stand up for virtue and truth. Ruth insists both Trudy and Eddie will become modern-day Paladins—defenders of truth and justice—but Trudy’s experiences inside the camp soon convince her that she doesn’t have what it takes to be a knight.
After two years, her family is released from the camp and they move to Mississippi. Here, Trudy struggles to deal with injustice when she comes face to face with the ingrained bigotries of the local white residents and the abject poverty of the black citizens of Willow Bay. Then their black housekeeper—a woman Trudy has come to care for—finds herself in crisis, and Trudy faces a choice: look the other way, or become the person her grandfather and Ruth believed she could be?
This is a great coming of age story, where Trudy has to find out who she is and what she stands for. I loved the setting of the book. This is a great YA read.
Review“This novel offers a window into a lesser-known aspect of internment in WWII…When a regular girl confronts extraordinary challenges, this novel forcefully asks what it takes to stand up for what is right.”
“Trudy Herman’s struggle to survive adolescence and deal with the difficulties of injustice, cruelty, and self-doubt is a remarkable record of self-evolution. Her story is both engaging and revealing and the writer’s ability to capture Trudy’s conflicts and growth is remarkable. We all learn from her experiences.”
―Gloria Campbell, author of Just for Thought
“Who Are You, Trudy Herman? is a strong commentary on social injustice viewed through the eyes of a young, innocent girl. Shocked and terrorized by its existence and the shame not to find courage to confront it, Trudy must reach deep within herself to do what is right. B. E. Beck’s writing style and her ability to develop her characters makes this a must read.”
–Bruce Hansen author of ALPHA BLUE
“Confronting questions of inequality, injustice, and poverty, readers will ask themselves, ‘Who would I be?’ B.E. Beck explores America surrounding World War II, illuminating the story of a girl setting her moral compass. Trudy’s struggles leap off the page, relevant now more than ever.”
–Jennifer Rainman, Librarian
“Told with deep empathy, this tale illuminates a little-known but relevant aspect of U.S. history and deftly explores privilege and injustice in their many forms.”
“Through Trudy Herman, B.E. Beck illustrates the toils and triumphs of looking absurdity, indifference to suffering, and condescension straight in eye, and in doing such, builds solidarity across racial, national, and cultural differences. It’s an insight into empathy, the relevance of which in many ways continues to define the United States today.”
–Kristin Gissberg, Ph.D German Philosophy, Berlin, Germany
About the Author:
I was given this book in exchange for my honest review from Netgalley. All opinions stated above are my own.