the corner office

a blog, by Colin Pretorius

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An old book and an interesting tale

A side project (one always needs these) during this study break has been shuffling books around the house. And whenever I get to poking my nose into my books, I get to thinking about who some of these long-gone, long-dead authors were.

This evening walking past on a study break, my eye caught a book 'A Woman Called Fancy - Yerby' (which I've never read). And so I googled it, and it turns out the book is from the 1950s and the author was Frank Yerby, an African American author who (inter alia) wrote romance novels set in the South. Go figure!

That's not the point of the blog post. I stumbled across this story, about a school teacher who used Frank Yerby books to turn around the life of a troubled boy in the 50s. The boy saw a book in the library, and stole it, being too ashamed to admit he wanted to read it. When he took it back, he found another book by Frank Yerby, and another, and his newly discovered love of reading eventually turned his life around. He graduated from law school and ended up a judge. The incredible bit is this:

At a high school reunion, Grady stunned Neal by confiding to him that she had spotted him stealing that first book. Her impulse was to confront him, but then, in a flash of understanding, she realized his embarrassment at being seen checking out a book.

So Grady kept quiet. The next Saturday, she told him, she drove 70 miles to Memphis to search the bookshops for another novel by Yerby. Finally, she found one, bought it and put it on the library bookshelf.

Twice more, Grady told Neal, she spent her Saturdays trekking to Memphis to buy books by Yerby - all in hopes of turning around a rude adolescent who had made her cry. She paid for the books out of her own pocket.

How amazing some human beings are.

{2012.05.27 - 22:01}


1 Chris (2012.06.05 - 11:14) #

Truly amazing

2 Sandy (2012.09.15 - 11:30) #

I've got goose bumps reading that...


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