Sweet Mercy by Ann Tatlock is not only a wonderful book, but it will give you a lot to think about. At first, I had trouble identifying with the main character, Eve Marryat. The story takes place in 1931 during Prohibition and the Great Depression. Because I live in post-prohibition, I just could not identify with this character’s strong aversion to alcohol being bought and sold in stores. However, Tatlock did such a fabulous job of writing that it wasn’t long before I could see and feel the events through Eve’s eyes. I understood what she and the other characters were going through and sympathized with her pain.
I also learned a lot about this historical period; things I never learned in history class. Never before had I grasped what the average citizen went through during this period of time when gangsters, bootleggers, bank robbers, money launderers, and corrupt lawmen ran the businesses, the banks and the local government. When the average citizen watched people get gunned down in the streets right in front of them and car bombs were frequent events. When advertisements in the paper read, “Bullet holes rewoven perfectly in damaged clothes.” I just never knew how corrupt it was.
It made me begin to wonder what will happen to our country if gun laws get passed. Will we go through a Gun Prohibition that will be similar to the Prohibition in the 30s? Perhaps we need to reread our history a bit more closely and think about the long-term effects of passing laws like this.
Although the book is an eye-opener about the Prohibition era, it is in no way a boring read, nor is it depressing. It is a coming-of-age story, a love story, and a story of mercy. It has a surprise ending that made me both laugh and cry. After I was done, I went back and read parts of it again. That's how much it affected me.
Sweet Mercy is the perfect title for this book, too. You'll see what I mean when you read it. Trust me, you don't want to miss this one!
NOTE: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of writing the review; however, this in no way reflects my review of the book. My opinions are my own, good or bad!