Raise Your Right Hand
and… Keep it Simple, Honest, and To the Point
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth—that's
what you're expected to tell if you're ever a witness testifying in a court of
law. That means no frills, no fancy stuff. Just state the facts and do it to
the best of your ability.
Okay, so it might seem weird to mention the words like "truth"
and "honesty" when we're dealing with a novel where almost every
character we meet is lying for about 90% of it. But then again, they've got
their reasons. It's up to you to decide if they're good ones—and you've got to
come to conclusions about a whole lot more. Did Beau deserve to die? Is there
such a thing as justice for a person of color in Louisiana, or anywhere in the
U.S.? In other words, Gaines is putting a black robe around your shoulders and
slapping a gavel in your hand and making you the judge.
That's why the novel reads like a series of statements given
to law enforcement personnel or in front of a jury in a crowded court room. No
matter who it is who's doing the talking, you're getting a straight up
break-down of what happened at Mathu's place, after the fact. Some of the
characters might not have been totally honest with others when everything went
down out at Mathu's that fateful day, but everybody is straight-up with us. It
comes across in the simple and straightforward way they talk to us.