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Shauna has commented on (2) products.

Wench (P.S.) by Dolen Perkins Valdez
Wench (P.S.)

Shauna, September 5, 2011

At a time when The Help is the focus on a lot of attention, Wench offers another view. Set shortly before the Civil War, the book focuses on the lives of a few Southern slaves who are brought each summer to a resort in the free state of Ohio to "vacation" with their masters. The characters in Wench are diverse - one enslaved mistress actually seems to love her owner, whereas others will do anything, including sacrificing their children, to try to escape horrendous situations. The contrast between planation life and the resort is extreme at times - as a reader you witness the slaves seeing free blacks vacationing, getting to dress up for a fancy dinner, and visiting a big city for the first time.

While the book is a work of fiction, the resort is not. After the resort closed because the Northerners stopped coming in protest over slavery, the facility was bought by the Methodists for use as a school. It eventually became Wilberforce University, which is now the oldest private African-American university in the United States.

Well written and engaging, Wench offers an interesting historical perspective on relationships between slave owners and their black mistresses. It is a fast-paced read and worthy of good book club discussion.
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(3 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)

Room by Emma Donoghue

Shauna, September 9, 2010

I read "Room" in one day - I just couldn't put it down! Now I'm sorry that I finished it so quickly... Jack is a compelling character, and Donoghue brings him to life on the page through his use of language, his humanization of the objects in his ordered life, and his spirit. The subject matter may be bleak, but the novel itself is not depressing. I'd put off reading it for a few days because I was concerned it would be difficult to immerse myself in Jack's world, but instead I was captivated almost instantly once I began reading. Richly detailed, there are images and ideas that continue to haunt me days after I finished the book. I've never posted a review before, but this book is special so I'm encouraging people to spend some time in "Room."
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(7 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)

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