A FIT DAY FOR DARK DISGRACE
Cathy Cobb (USA)
Kerin Freeman’s new book is an excellent read! True-crime, history, and a darn good story – A Fit Day for Dark Disgrace has it all.
We know the end of the story from the very first page: a young man is to be hanged for the murder of his lover. But how the tragedy unfolds, the portrait of the harsh social milieu at fault, and the travesty of justice revealed, keeps the pages turning from beginning to end.
Set in New Zealand in the mid 1900s, the story captures a moment in history as seen through the eyes of the everyday people that lived it. Based on meticulous research, Freeman blends the facts into a dramatized narrative that allows the characters to speak as they would have spoken at the time, in their own dialect and as products of their own culture and ideals.
Freeman does not paint the protagonist, Freddie Foster, as a pure hero, nor the casualty, Sharon, as a guiltless victim. Instead Freeman shows us the lives of two imperfect young people trying to make ends meet and have a little fun while they still can. Freeman then takes us through the painful series of misunderstandings and wounded feelings that led to the tragedy and then walks us through the trial in a manner that allows us to see for ourselves the evidence that should have exonerated Freddie – and the prejudice of the people who finally convict him.
By the time Freddie is led to the scaffold the reader wants to call out for them to stop. When the sentence is carried out, the reader feels the impotence of his grieving mother.
Distressing? Yes. But this is because Freeman has done her job. She has spoken for the unfortunate Fred Foster and shown the world how callus prejudgment can destroy the potential of a life.
Food for thought. Well done.