Against The Grain
Published November 8, 2022 by Woodhall Press
Reviews: Coming Soon!
Every small act of history is a drama of time, place and people.
A Girl. A Town. A Time.
The girl is Fleur Williams, an African American high school junior stuck in the indifferent machinery of the school’s tracking curriculum. Curious, observant, and mostly ignored, she yearns to escape her isolation and become somebody.
The town is a leafy New Jersey suburb. Irish and Italian Catholics dominate, though there is a minority of African American families.
The time is 1962 – 1964, when the United States is in the throes of desegregation. The drama is in the South but soon the North joins in.
There’s an oversight in the high school’s guidance office, and because they can’t think of anything else to teach her, Fleur is offered an after school job. She will be the “new girl” in an
upscale jewelry and gift store on the town’s Main Street. But will she be allowed to enter the rarified world of gold and silver, china and crystal, diamonds and pearls? Or will she just clean and wrap the merchandise?
The local college exerts an influence in the town, and Fleur becomes the “project” of the college president’s wife in ways that upset the equilibrium of the girl, the town and the time. What happens during those two years gives Fleur a vision for her life—and a pathway to get there.
Excerpt from AGAINST THE GRAIN by Anne Dimock ©2022
“Fleur walked up the stairs, opened the door, and entered the salon. A little bell rang. She stood in front of the reception stand. She was about to commit an act of civil disobedience and didn’t know what the outcome would be. She might be getting herself into a lot of trouble: Surely she was going to make her parents upset; she might lose her job. She didn’t know how people at school or church would react, but she thought it would not be a positive reaction. But the chance to break out of the background, to be somebody, made this worth this risk. She didn’t want to hurt the people she loved, but she believed they would still love her. She didn’t want to let down the people she respected, but if they did not return her respect for what she was about to do, that would mean something important between them must change.”