The Little Known by Janice Daugharty

The Little Known by Janice Daugharty
This coming of age story deals with race relations in the 60’s, poverty, tragedy, and a sack of stolen money which should have transformed lives. A little boy named Knot finds the sack of stolen money dropped by the bank robber. He secretly gives the money away to those who have great needs, but quickly realizes that the money doesn’t change the lives of the recipients in the way that he had hoped.

This little boy starts out as an unwanted, neglected, child without a mother, family, or real name, but the conclusion of this tale finds not only has his name changed, but his true identity is revealed, and his character developed. Knot sets out to improve the lives of others. He never spends any of the money on himself, but secretly hopes that as the lives of those around him improves, that their good fortune will trickle down to him like a hand-me-down sweater or an old bike. Sadly, he never sees any material rewards for his efforts, but he gains something much more valuable, a true sense of identity.

The concept of the story is touching, but I found the pace of the story slow. The reader has to get to the last 3 chapters of the book before there is any real revelation of the impact that these experiences had on “the Little Known” who is Knot. For me, much of the storyline was predictable and there were very few if any real surprises to the plot. Although, the author does tackle many subjects, the readers never comes away with a complete understanding concerning those involved.

I understood the concept that the author was attempting to convey with Knot-turned-David [little poor black boy] overcoming Goliath [racist white man who symbolizes the oppression of Blacks during the early 60’s]. “Knot” renamed “David” stands up to Goliath even in the face of danger. However, my problem is that the story also implies that the money doesn't truly change the lives of poor blacks [there is a new basketball court in the middle of the shacks and the Church has a new piano]. However, the money changes the lives of the little white girl and her mother drastically, forever. Here is my problem with that, Knot’s compassion for the little white girl resulted in him giving them at least two stacks of money [around $2000.00], but he gave the family of the little black cripple girl only $100.00 and expected it to make a life changing difference.

I’m not one to hunt for racial undertones, but the author created the storyline based upon race & equality. So it’s rather obvious to an African-American reader looking through that lens that as understanding as the author attempted to be, she neglected to avoid inequality within her own story. Unless Blacks and Whites have equal opportunity there can be no expectation that the results will be the same.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publicist and/or author in exchange for a fair review. Compensation was not exchanged.
Dianne Rosena Jones is a Transformational Life Coach, Inspirational Speaker, and the author of the award-winning “Tragic Treasures: Discovering Spoils of War in the Midst of Tragedy” voted “BEST INSPIRATIONAL BOOK OF THE YEAR” [2010].

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