When twelve-year-old Knot Crews, an African American boy growing up in the segregated south Georgia town of Statenville, discovers a bag of bank-robbed cash in an alley, he is nearly overcome with happiness and terror. All that money—a hundred thousand dollars—could be the ticket to everything he’s ever wanted, but he knows he can’t spend it, not only because his conscience won’t let him, but for fear of being caught. He decides to do what he can for his needy neighbors, both black and white, and begins mailing them hundred dollar bills anonymously, but it irks Knot daily to discover that most of them squander it and don’t use the money as he had intended, and that the money doesn’t change their lives for the better. It turns out that the weight of Knot’s world can’t be lifted by cold hard cash alone. Set during the turbulent 1960’s, The Little Known is a coming-of-age story full of hope and forgiveness.
My take on this book:
Knot Crews is a thirteen year old African American boy growing up in Statensville Georgia. who was told most of his young life that he was fished out of a dumpster and taken to raise by Marge, she struggles with alcoholism, and alot of days there isn't enough food to eat. They live in what I would call a shanty town, and everybody seems to be poor. The one bright spot is the summers spent with his "Aunt Willie"Marge's sister whom he hopes that some day they will move in with. During the last days of summer, he sees a commotion at the bank, and sees a tall black man drop a bag in the alley. When he goes to retrieve the bag, he finds that it has stacks and stacks of one hundred dollar bills, one hundred thousand dollars to be exact. Knot knows that there is no way that he can spend the money, he will be caught for sure, but he comes up with a plan to help his neighbors, but instead of the neighbors using it to purchase food or other needed items they waste the money. He also donates 100 dollar bills regularly to his church, a place where he is certain to always get a meal. Even though Knot doesn't spend one dime of the money on himself, it does allow him to see the effects it has on other people around him.
This book isn't my usual style of read, but I am so glad that I gave it a chance. The protagonist in the story doesn't let life's adversities get him down. While he describes himself as ugly early on in the book, I would totally disagree. His kind caring nature really shines thru and his actions showcase his inner beauty which far outweighs anything that he could consider ugly. I felt like Knot was wise beyond his years, and while he knows that keeping and spending the money isn't right, he wants to make peoples lives a bit easier. When Knot finally learns the truth about who his birth mother is, and that he really is part of the family that he wanted to belong to I hoped that things might take a turn for the better for him.
I found the look at race relations set during this time period quite interesting as well, and while it was quite easy to figure out who the "special" speaker would be at Willie's church, it seemed very fitting for the story.This book for me was one that I couldn't put down, reading it in one sitting. I have never read anything by Janice Daugharty before reading this story, but fully intend to check out some of her other work. While this book is geared toward teens, I think readers of all ages will find Knot's story a compelling tale that will definitely tug at your heartstrings.