book review: Family Ties

book review: Family Ties
author: Ernest Hill
date: Dafina; September 2010
main character: D’Ray Reid

Ernest Hill first introduced D’Ray Reid in A Life for a Life. Family Ties continues the story with a redeemed D’Ray. He had been taken in by Mr. Henry, the man who’s son he killed, and completed college. When Mr. Henry dies D’Ray is convinced to go home and make things right with his own mother, Mira. What he finds is his brother, Curtis,  about to go to prison for a crime those who know him don’t believe he committed several years earlier. D’Ray tries to help his brother thus giving the story an element of mystery. Mira stills sees her son as the reason for her family’s troubles and she will not forgive him for this.
Typically we find stories in which young males repair their relationship with their father so, it was a bit of a change for this character to try to make things right with his mother. While Mira’s character was not well developed in this book, we get to know her well enough as a mother to want D’Ray and Curtis to just walk away from her. Turning your back on your mother is not an easy thing to do and Hill never really gives closure to this relationship, leaving the possibility for a third book.
Curtis and D’Ray give young men reasons and examples of leaving the past behind to become men who make positive contributions to society. While they have educations, jobs and girlfriends they do remember where they’ve come from and are never judgemental and never avoid people they’ve always known. It’s a good story for junior and senior students who are transitioning to adult lit. Young men may be surprised to see a character who reconnects with a love interest from the past but refuses to even stay too late at her home to avoid looking inappropriate. I like that Family Ties gives allows readers to consider different ways of handling situations.