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Daily Archives: March 24, 2011

Abraham’s Well

I just finished my friend, Sharon Ewell Foster’s Abraham’s Well. Since I know Sharon and have enjoyed her books set in modern times, Ain’t No River and Ain’t No Valley this work of historical fiction was a departure. I can’t pretend that my review is unbiased so don’t say I didn’t warn readers.

The story reminds me of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman as it consists of an elderly woman looking back on her life during a significant historical period. Armentia, the main character, is African American and Cherokee. She lives in the 19th (and I suppose early 20th century) experiencing tribal life, slavery, the removal of Cherokee and other native Americans during the Trail of Tears and eventually freedom. It’s the story of an imperfect character, rather than a superhero, finding strength and courage to surmount injustice and hardship. I’m a sucker for such stories.

For me historical fiction succeeds by teaching me and entertaining me and Abraham’s Well does both. Although I’ve read a little about the Trail of Tears and knew that some African American’s are part Native American, I had no knowledge of African American involvement in this chapter of American history. Sharon includes an explanation of why she decided to write about this topic and her family heritage as it relates to the themes of the novel. I found that quite interesting. I could see this making a good movie.

The book reads very fast, as Bridget points out. Bridget’s also right about the chapters on the preaching but there’s probably less church-going in this story than the others I’ve read so I had a different view of that aspect. I didn’t mind it. I realize that Sharon’s fans will be looking for Christian fiction when they decide to read this novel.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in African American Lit, fiction

 

Flipped

Wendelin Van Draanen’s novel for teens shows two takes on the same events, which neighbors Juli and Bryce experience. As soon as Bryce moves to the neighborhood, Juli is smitten. Bryce is definitely not. At all. Instead he’s annoyed. As they move from second to eighth grade the tables are turned.

Each chapter describes one main character’s view of the same events and people carefully showing how each person has a different take on life and how incomplete views warp our responses and opinions.

The story shows the ups and downs of being a child coping with school, peers, parents and grandparents. Although I sometimes found myself doubting that the dialog was realistic, I did enjoy this perceptive novel.

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in fiction, teen lit

 

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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in Uncategorized