Forged: When Sugar Taste Like Salt explains why someone could place something in their mouth so essentially similiar in color and texture as sugar, and taste salt. We perceive things that we want as being sugary and sweet, when in reality, they are briny and dissatifying - distasteful once we receive them. The book is an autobiographic tale of a coming of age story of a young precocious girl testing the boundaries of Jim Crow society, challenging the separate but equal laws in a most unimaginable way. Told as an African groit would tell the plight, Jacqueline Snowden is the first to admit there is nothing exceptional about her growing up in segregated West Monroe, Louisana, mainly because nothing exceptional is expected of her. She weaves the stories of her educational misadventures from first to ninth grade in a segregated school. Born to a large family with strong ties and religious values, she is supported by a community of colorful charaters that enrich her sheltered life, so much so, she doesn't even realize that she is poor. Jacqueline is protected from a world she did not create, but she is conscious that something is wrong. She is also aware that even though she is young, she is called on a mission for change. As far back as she can remember, she has known "she would be first" There are numerous taboos, laws (written and unwritten), customs, and moral codes of conduct that Jacqueline must abide by to stay within the constraints of what is lawful and what is not, when trying to understand her miseducation in the strictly segregated town in northeastern Louisana.
Forged: When Sugar Taste Like Salt is a unique story about truths of life, which in this case is unsettling to the human heart, disquieting to the soul, and disconcerting to the sense of justice to humanity. Life is about changing and as humans we must make adjustments to constant change. Never in human history has it been so arduous or problematic to make those kinds of adjustments, than during the Jim Crow era in American History. This is the backdrop for this story.
This narrative is a fifty-year reflection on how integration adversely affected Jacqueline and everyone around her, both then and now. The story is about faith when faith in something greater than yourself isn't evident. It is about a wall of guilt and regret she bears for her radical choice, the consequences, of which, she must live with every day of her life. It's a novel that doesn't concede with apologies because white America isn't ready to perceive or acknowledge their transgressions against blacks. Even to this day West Monroe High School, known then and now as REBEL LAND, still supports the Civil War era separatist culture.
The story is explicit in its understating of telling the facts yet, blunt about racial relationships on sexuality, spirituality, humanity, education and sibling rivalary. There is a truthfulness with the underlying story of a strained mother-daughter relationship, and feelings of betrayal when marital infidelities are revealed. Mental health issues are addressed at several points, because emotional trama is forever a daily component in the three years Jacqueline was a student at West Monroe High. There are no heroes in this story because many protagonists don't suffer the consequences or angst of their choices made in life. There are no signs broadcasting separate but equal,yet its there even today, alive and well in America. In Forged: When Sugar Taste Like Salt, the reader witnesses how a young, black girl copes when there is no redemption or absolution when so much is deserved. Judge for yourself.