Mildred D. Taylor

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Margery Fisher

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Burningly honest as [Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry] undoubtedly is, it has the air of autobiography in its crowded details and assumptive descriptions, while the raw emotionalism needs to be disciplined and channelled if it is to make a proper impact as fiction. There is much talent in this extended chronicle of a negro family in Mississippi in the early 'thirties, and a very evident truth in episodes derived from the author's father which show up the bigotries and brutal social alignments of the time. But the strength of feeling in the book has been too much for the characters. They remain dim, stiff figures manipulated for the sake of certain key situations, and they are so far based on the author's own family history that they never achieve the independent identity essential to a novel…. [Much] of Mildred Taylor's material would have been better used in a family memoir than in the exacting, deliberate form of a novel. (pp. 3286-87)

Margery Fisher, "Significant Forms," in her Growing Point, Vol. 16, No. 9, April, 1978, pp. 3282-87.∗