Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Media Wednesday

Our book club read "The Kitchen House" by Kathleen Grissom.

It is a story about a young Irish orphan that is put into indentured servitude at a planation in the 1700s in Virginia, and then sent to live with the slaves in the kitchen house.  I have read a few books about slavery, and seen the movies (12 Years a Slave, Django Unchained, The Book of Negroes), but for some reason I found this story one of the most heartbreaking.  I mean, you know slavery is bad and that it's pretty much the worst thing that ever happened in the Southern US, but the day to day fear and abuse experienced by the slaves was really well written in this book.  Similarly the treatment of the white women of the house was really sad.  The system in place at the time gave women so few options that they also had to live with abuse and fear.

As much as I enjoyed it, I wouldn't call it a "great novel" or anything like that.  It is an easy read with no real complex storylines.  This is the author's first novel.  She said in the end notes that this book "came to her" as if from another medium.  I'm paraphrasing here but she felt like these characters were inside her and wanted her to tell this story, their story.  Insert chills here.  Not sure how much I believe that there were spirits tell her to write this book, but it is believable that these types of events did occur.

If you're looking for an easy, heartbreaking read (and isn't everyone?), then pick up this book.


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