Parrish and Tim and his friends is authentic, obscene and relentless. Parrish writes of being an honor student and a promising athlete. His school, previously a haven, is in turmoil and there is indeed some black-on-white violence. Parrish feels threatened.
As in so many other neighborhoods, if one house is bought by blacks, it is viewed as an invasion, Armageddon, and the whites sell and flee. Swept away by this sense of being at war, with him and his buddies white soldiers on the front lines Parrish, like most boys, is mainly afraid he is not courageous enough, not a real man, whatever that might mean.
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Tim Parrish. Parrish comes to believe that he can only be safe by allying himself with brute force.
This brute influence is a vicious, charismatic racist. Under this bigot's terrible sway Parrish, turns to violence in the street and at school.
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He is even conflicted about whether he will help commit murder in order to avenge a friend. At seventeen he must reckon with all of this as his parents and neighbors grow increasingly afraid that they are "losing" their neighborhood to African Americans.
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Fear and What Follows is an unparalleled story of the complex roots of southern, urban, working-class racism and white flight, as well as a story of family, love, and the possibility of redemption. This is one of those books that, once read, is never forgotten. With insight and urgency Parrish proves that even a stubborn, inherited racism can be vanquished through will.
At the same time, he tells the riveting story of a mostly overlooked time, class, and place--a location that's at once unique and every bit as American as the rest of this variegated country. If you thought that everything had been already said about race, integration, and the American South, well, Tim Parrish's new memoir will make you think again. An unforgettable book by a hugely talented writer.