Book Review: Accidental Activist: Justice for the Groveland Four by Josh Venkataraman & Barbara Venkataraman

Accidental Activist: Justice for the Groveland FourAccidental Activist: Justice for the Groveland Four by Josh Venkataraman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Most of my reading tends to be fiction. On the rare occasion, I’ll pick up a non-fiction book if the material is of interest. Today, I read Accidental Activist: Justice for the Groveland Four, as a recommendation from someone I know and trust. I’m glad I did, as it was eye-opening and heartwarming to know things can sometimes work out better than you expect.

Nearly 75 years ago, four African American men were accused of raping a Caucasian woman in Central Florida. Due to racial tension and other awful practices, some of these men were hunted down, maimed and killed without a trial or chance to clear their name. Over the years, many people tried to get them pardoned, mostly because it was clear they hadn’t actually committed any crimes. In 2015, a college student named Josh posted a petition and changed the outcome. Now, he’s written a book on the entire experience.

This book isn’t your typical novel in terms of telling the story of what happened in the past. Instead, the author, Josh Venkataraman, chronicles his journey to try to right a wrong. Through a humorous and honest tone, he shares how he felt the need to make a difference, reached out to people, was denied and pushed down many times, and finding a stroke of luck and persistence paid off in the end. Step by step, he shares his success story, covering the highs and the lows. As a readers, I was right there with him nearly clapping with each win, scowling with each setback.

It’s an easy read, at least in terms of his storytelling voice and style. The material, on the other hand, is difficult, as it shines light on the frailties or insanity of our country’s past (and often present too). I admire the author for what he’s accomplished. As touching and educational as the story was, this is a review about his book, not the actual event. That said, I clearly can say it is told with the perfect balance of facts, theory, personal accounts, pictures, timelines, and heart.

Personally, I would’ve loved a bit more detail on the actual event (e.g. when / where it happened, etc.) but to the author’s point, that’s covered in the book written by another author which inspired Josh to go forward with this petition and journey. I think we’ll see more good things to come form Mr. Venkataraman, and I look forward to watching his career as a social justice champion and author develop.

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic CurveballBroken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.


  1. A couple of months ago, Barbara did tell me about the book she’s been writing with her son, Josh. He has a major contribution in freeing the Groveland four accused. After reading your review, I have added this book to my TBR. Btw, have you read Barbara’s other books? I loved her Jamie Quinn series. 😁😁

    Liked by 1 person

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