Monday, December 16, 2013

Kathryn Erskine's "Seeing Red"

Seeing Red, National Book Award winner Kathryn Erskine's latest novel, is a story of family, friendship, and race relations in the South.
Life will never be the same for Red Porter. He’s a kid growing up around black car grease, white fence paint, and the backward attitudes of the folks who live in his hometown, Stony Gap, Virginia.

Red’s daddy, his idol, has just died, leaving Red and Mama with some hard decisions and a whole lot of doubt. Should they sell the Porter family business, a gas station, repair shop, and convenience store, rolled into one, where the slogan — “Porter’s: We Fix It Right!” — has been shouting the family’s pride for as long as anyone can remember?

With Daddy gone, everything’s different. Through his friendship with Thomas, Beau, Rosie, and Miss Georgia, Red starts to see there’s a lot more than car motors and rusty fenders that need fixing in his world.
Here Erskine dreamcasts an adaptation of her novel:
There are a few characters who pop into mind immediately:

Miss Georgia:  Cicely Tyson

Mr. Walter: Morgan Freeman

Beau: Matt Damon

Mama: Julia Stiles

Red: Griffin Gluck

Thomas: Jaden Smith

Rosie: Madison Pettis

The other characters I can picture in my mind but don't know an actor to fit with them. I know who'd be a great director, though -- Ron Howard. Red, the main character, is a 12-year-old redhead in the early 1970's and even compares himself at one point to Opie, the character Ron Howard played on TV in The Andy Griffith Show. Also, it's definitely a Ron Howard kind of movie: thoughtful, serious, unflinching, but with charm and humor.
Learn more about the book and author at Kathryn Erskine's website.

Check out Erskine's top 10 first person narratives.

--Marshal Zeringue