Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine, Bebe Moore Campbell’s first novel, chronicles the aftermath of the murder of Armstrong Todd, an event which reverberates in the lives of two families, one black and one white. The novel opens in 1955 in Hopewell, Mississippi, where Armstrong, a fifteen-year-old African American, has come from Chicago to spend the summer with his grandmother. Unused to the ways of the South, he is not aware of the consequences that await him for speaking to Lily Cox, a white woman. When Armstrong is killed by Lily’s husband Floyd, family members of the murderer and the victim are forced to examine their lives in relation to this act.
Over time Lily comes to realize that Armstrong’s death was prompted more by Floyd’s desire to please his father than to protect her. This growing awareness causes her to question her passive allegiance to her husband, a role which she had been taught that women should assume. This shift is furthered by her daughter Doreen, who is not afraid to stand up to her father, a man from whom she feels her mother needed more protection than from Armstrong.
In Chicago, Todd’s parents, Delotha and Wydell, must deal with their feelings of guilt and failure which their son’s death produces. Delotha’s identity is bound up in her obsession to produce another male child to take Armstrong’s place, a son whom she must protect from white people. Yet her resolve is pitted against Wydell’s...
(The entire section is 425 words.)