Byron MacKenzie is a Harvard University graduate who studied molecular biology, going through a lot of challenges to achieve her dream. Her mother, a racist with no sense of feminism, didn't appreciate her collection of frogs, spiders, and snakes. Besides dressing like a tomboy and collecting bizarre pets, Byron also enjoyed spending time with her equally strange friends. Amongst her dysfunctional family and an odd group of friends, Byron found solace only in her science classroom, where Timothy Maher, her teacher, encouraged her to go after her dreams and find the truth behind creationism and evolution.
Byron by Robert M. Tucker is a coming-of-age novel that has a lot to offer for parents, students, teachers, and other adults, a story that explores the strong themes of racism, superstition, and intolerance. The characters are gorgeously written and the protagonist, a young feminist, will arrest the interest of the readers. While it deals with strong and sensitive themes, the author augments the delight by infusing the writing with humor, crafting characters that are eccentric, like Josine Carrie, Aristophanes Jones, Toussaint McIver, and many others. The setting in the sixties is written in a captivating manner, allowing the political and social nuances to shine through the story. This a novel with strong characterization and that offers a powerful lesson to young readers: they can achieve anything if they set their mind to it. The journey of the protagonist in pursuit of her dream and the challenges that are stacked against her, including her family and social norms are brilliantly explored in this mesmerizing tale of success. This book is beautifully crafted and it showcases the doctrine that we can shape our fate by the choices we make, regardless of our parenting. It is character-driven and cunningly plotted, a story that will keep you racing through the pages.