Fear, division, race, and compassion are the words that I think of after reading “Valentine” written by Elizabeth Wetmore. A story of a town dealing with the aftermath of a heinous crime that took place on the evening of Valentine’s day.
Valentine is set in the mid 1970’s in Odessa Texas and chronicles the events that occur after a rape of a young girl takes place at the hands of a popular teenage boy in town. When a young mother that found the girl is set to testified at the trial what will happen? Will the young girl’s story be heard and taken seriously? Will justice be served? What is the leading impact this crime will have on a town like Odessa?
Valentine is a compelling story of how in the 1970’s a crime of this magnitude plays out. The fear that a crime like this leaves on the young women and especially the young mothers in town. The division of race and class that ripples through a town. Whether it is a he said, she said situation, or the real truth of events gets to be told. Lastly, the compassion that is felt between the women in the neighborhoods and how they all come together for each other in the most desperate of times.
I recommend this story to any reader who has an interest in knowing the 1970s perspective of the southern way of life.