Mighty Inside

  • Review
By – June 21, 2022

This won­der­ful­ly writ­ten book, set in the 1950s, cap­tures the angst of high school fresh­man Melvin Robin­son, who is enter­ing tough ter­rain with sev­er­al strikes already against him. He stut­ters so much that pro­nounc­ing his own name is a chal­lenge, and he is Black in a pre­dom­i­nate­ly white school. In Melvin’s world, there are whites only” pub­lic events and the bru­tal, racial­ly moti­vat­ed mur­der of Emmet Till. Melvin is also con­stant­ly aware of Atom-bomb testing.

In his friend­ships with stu­dents of diverse back­grounds, Melvin finds empa­thy and a sense of uni­ty born of shar­ing sim­i­lar chal­lenges. His Jew­ish friend, Lenny, a musi­cian, encour­ages Melvin to allow his musi­cal tal­ent to soar. His crush on Mil­lie (anoth­er stut­ter-chal­leng­ing name) who is of Japan­ese her­itage, devel­ops slow­ly and delight­ful­ly through­out the story.

Fra­zier helps read­ers of today under­stand a time dif­fer­ent than their own which is filled with oner­ous obsta­cles suc­cess­ful­ly overcome.

Award-win­ning jour­nal­ist and free­lance writer, Helen Weiss Pin­cus, has taught mem­oir writ­ing and cre­ative writ­ing through­out the NY Metro area to senior cit­i­zens and high school stu­dents. Her work has been pub­lished in The New York Times, The Record, The Jew­ish Stan­dard, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. She recent­ly added Bub­by” to her job description.

Discussion Questions