"Look Away No More" by Carol Owens Campbell
Posted on January 11, 2024 by Reader Views
Look Away No More
Carol Owens Campbell
Reynolds Street Press (2023)
Reviewed by Kathy Stickles for Reader Views (12/2023)
In "Look Away No More," Carol Owens Campbell has created a story that gives readers a little bit of everything… romance, danger, suspense, college life, racism, war, fear, and the list goes on… all in one very well-written book. This author has written a riveting story about a time in our country's history when the excitement of growing up and changing clashes with the violence and horror that happened during the 1960's.
This is the story of Tally McCall, a young woman at college in Georgia who is heading towards, and certainly hoping for, a summer of fun and excitement. Tally is the only daughter in a well-known Southern family. Her father is a judge, her mother owns a boutique for brides, and her brother has headed off to Vietnam to fight. All Tally wants to do is figure out what her place in the world should be, become much closer to her new beau Rye, and be chosen for an award that will allow her to attend Oxford University and get her graduate degree. Her rival for the award is her friend Winston, a young black man who goes to school with Tally. No matter which of them wins, the award will be changed forever, as it has never been given to a black student or a female student.
On the same day that Tally is set to be named the Military Gala Queen as part of the "country club culture" she has grown up in, the murder of students at Kent State University in Ohio shocks her, her friends and family, and the whole country. Now Tally must decide if she is going to follow her own path and honor the students who were killed or step away and continue to follow the path of everyone else, stick with the country club set, and not make waves. Readers are led on a wonderful journey as they watch Tally stand up for what is right, including helping a friend run away from the draft. Will Tally succeed in all her goals when there is so much against her?
"Look Away No More" is a captivating story that will hold the attention of the reader from beginning to end. In Tally McCall, we are given a truly inspiring and strong protagonist who just wants to make the world a better place. Tally is a great character who seems to rejoice in all the challenges she is presented with… from her internship at the local paper, to trying to help her friends both in the sorority and outside of it, to trying to save someone from having to go to Vietnam… we see a strong, honest, and hard-working young woman who will never give up what she thinks is right.
The secondary characters in the novel, such as her sorority sisters or Winston and his brother Franklin, are extremely well-written and add so much to the story. In "Look Away No More" every character is different and likable and each one is a necessary part of the story as a whole. I loved them all. In addition, Ms. Campbell has a gift for descriptive writing. Whether Tally is on the beach, at the country club, or touring the Kent State Campus where a tragedy took place, the reader will feel as if they are right there with her for each moment.
"Look Away No More" is a story that is filled with history, blossoming love, discrimination, and tragedy, and every part of it makes for an incredible read. I would highly recommend this story to everyone. It is a fabulous book and a revealing look at our history. 5 Stars!!