Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – The Mistreatment of Zora Langston by Lisa W. Tetting

Title: The Mistreatment of Zora Langston (Paperback)
Author: Lisa W. Tetting
ISBN 13: 9780996142908
Published: March 15, 2015
Publisher: Lisa W. Tetting
Pages: 158 pages
Genre: Coming of Age, Young Adult, Drama, Fiction

The Mistreatment of Zora Langston is a coming-of-age novel surrounding the abuse experienced by nine-year-old Zora Langston. 

Set in Goldsboro, North Carolina, there is so much to relate to and learn in this powerful testimony of abuse, betrayal, and the ability to still love and be loved through it. Ironically, the cause of her father’s death becomes the epitome of tragedy for Zora in more ways than one. His enemies become hers, and when it seems things are getting better everywhere she turns, they only worsen. 

Zora is not given a chance to mourn her father before her mother’s boyfriend moves in. Instead of her shining example of womanhood, her mother despises her existence. Her sister burns with intense jealousy, and her brother’s nonchalant attitude further illuminates Zora’s invisibility. 

As a result of continual physical and emotional abuse, Zora is sent to live with her Aunt Terri and Uncle Jim and, for the first time, gets to experience what it means to be happy and to have a family. I was excited to see her get excited at those little things that children love.

What makes this a moving piece is that it is told from the eyes of a nine-year-old. I did not expect Zora to endure what she did, and the abuse she encountered was shocking. Children tend to be very open and honest even amid grown-up experiences, and Zora is no different. She approaches the situations of her youth with the same level of naïveté as most children. Yet, while Zora’s perspective is rightly childlike, the tragedies she endured strengthen her. Thus, her reaction to the situations surrounding her is in many ways also mature, surprising the adults around her, who are often taken aback.

What I found especially educational is how the author incorporated the life lessons of Zora’s dad and the parenting of her Aunt and Uncle into the tragedies of her life and how those lessons were used to strengthen Zora in the moments she needed them most. Despite her hardships, Zora could still hold on to a level of innocence deserving of a nine-year-old. “I usually wore a swim cap…but that made me look like an alien” (Tetting, 102) is just one of the many sayings of little Miss Zora that made me laugh out loud. I could have sworn I thought the same thing at her age!

The Mistreatment of Zora Langston is a book of shocking revelations and raw emotion. As adults, we have much to learn from children like Zora. It is not just a book about her; we also get to see how adults view situations. 

Debut Author Lisa Tetting proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that “it’s not the love that hurts; its the denial of love.”

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5
Entertainment Factor: 4/5
Characterization: 5/5
Authenticity / Believable: 5/5
Thought Provoking: 4/5
Recommendation: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

The Mistreatment of Zora Langston is available now on Amazon!


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I write to restore Black Historical Truth for the freedom of all people. Visit me online at and @yecheilyah on IG and Twitter.

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