Facts behind the fiction

Lewiston City Hall

Photo by Sam T (samm4mrox), retrieved from http://www.flickr.com/photos/samm4mrox/2512136836/in/set-72157616962443658 and used according to a Creative Commons Attribution License

Earlier this summer a group of us read The Burgess Boys, by Elizabeth Strout.  The discussion highlighted the research potential of this book.  Books do gain something from being shared, don’t they?

The story takes place in Shirley Falls, Maine (a fictionalized Lewiston) after an incident in a mosque.  Some of the events are based on actual events.  In Maine Newsstand  or  ProQuest Newsstand  you could look up newspaper accounts of the real rally depicted in the book (pp. 147-152).   The latter database would give an out-of-state perspective to complement the Maine news coverage.

Though the book describes the experiences of the town’s Somali refugees, other books give accounts from the refugees themselves.  I would recommend:

Somalis in Maine: Crossing cultural currents; edited by Kimberly Huisman, Mazie Hough, Kristin Langellier, & Carol Toner

“They were very beautiful, such things are”: Memoirs for change from Dadaab, Kenya and Lewiston, Maine; edited by Patricia Buck & Rachel Silver

These and other resources will provide the facts behind the fiction.

References

Buck, P., & Silver, R. (Eds.). (2008). “They were very beautiful, such things are”: Memoirs for change from Dadaab, Kenya and Lewiston, Maine.  Bangor, ME: Booklocker.com.

Huisman, K., Hough, M., Langellier, K., & Toner, C. (Eds.). (2011). Somalis in Maine: Crossing cultural currents.  Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.

Strout, E. (2013). The Burgess boys: A novel (1st ed.). New York, NY: Random House.