The Well and the Mine was a surprising read. The synopsis of the story doesn't do it justice. This is more than the story of Tess and Virgie trying to solve the mystery of the dead baby. It is about the town that they live in, the people that lived there (both black and white), the era they lived in, and the way they survived.
One of the best things about The Well and the Mine is that it is from the first person perspective of all the members of the Moore family. In each story the reader gets an view into all five members point of view. Normally this style of writing can be pretty tricky to do but Phillips made it easy to adjust to the shifting character perspectives by labeling the change. Also, when switching from perspective to perspective the themes and timeline stayed the same. The youngest member of the family, Jack, set up the beginning of each chapter by reflecting on his childhood. By presenting each members view point readers got to see not only how the events at the mine affected them at the time but also how they changed their future.
The characters were very well developed. They were all likeable and relateable. Some of the characters were reminiscent of characters in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Tess comes of as a lot like Scout, a tomboy that is just enjoying her life until something happens that shakes her would. Albert is a little like Atticus but less scholarly. All of Albert's veiw point were based more of experince. His views on race and how his children were suppose to be raised were passed on personal experience and his beliefs about good or bad. It was interesting how the incident at the well and made him question his own actions and short comings.
One of the most interesting things about the story (personally) was the treatment of race issues in 1931. The children (Tess, Virgie, and Jack) never really deal with race, there is one incident with Jack. Albert is the one that deals with race the most and it is this experince that makes his sections so compelling to read.