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Original Essays | September 4, 2014

Edward E. Baptist: IMG The Two Bodies of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism



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The Wedding Gift

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The Wedding Gift Cover

ISBN13: 9781250026385
ISBN10: 1250026385
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When Cornelius Allen gives his daughter Clarissas hand in marriage, he presents her with a wedding gift: the young slave she grew up with, Sarah.  Sarah is also Allens daughter and Clarissas sister, a product of his longtime relationship with his house slave, Emmeline.  When Clarissas husband suspects that their newborn son is illegitimate, Clarissa and Sarah are sent back to her parents, Cornelius and Theodora, in shame, setting in motion a series of events that will destroy this once powerful family.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Sarah and Theodora Allen, Cornelius wife, The Wedding Gift is a stunning novel that shows where the complicated and compelling bonds and relationships between women explored in novels like The Help and The Secret Life of Bees began.  Marlen Suyapa Bodden's novel is an intimate portrait of slavery and the 19th century South that shows where this particular American story and dynamic all started and will leave listeners breathless.

 
Includes a reading group guide read by the author

Review:

"In this stunning debut, Marlen Suyapa Bodden effortlessly transports the reader to 1852 Alabama, where slavery and racism may rule the day, but everything isn't as black and white as it may seem. Sixteen-year-old Sarah Campbell is a housemaid to her half-sister Clarissa. Both daughters of plantation owner Mr. Allen, they secretly reject the roles they are expected to play. Sarah yearns for the day when she can escape slavery, while Clarissa is disinterested in her father's wishes for her to marry young and become mistress of her own plantation. But then Clarissa unexpectedly becomes pregnant before she's wed — changing the trajectory of both girls' lives. Bodden weaves a page-turning tangled web of misogyny, greed, scandal and violence in this powerful story about races colliding against the backdrop of America's darkest era. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

 In 1852, when prestigious Alabama plantation owner Cornelius Allen gives his daughter Clarissa's hand in marriage, she takes with her a gift: Sarah—her slave and her half-sister. Raised by an educated mother, Clarissa is not the proper Southern belle she appears to be, with ambitions of loving whom she chooses. Sarah equally hides behind the façade of being a docile house slave as she plots to escape. Both women bring these tumultuous secrets and desires with them to their new home, igniting events that spiral into a tale beyond what you ever imagined possible. Told through the alternating viewpoints of Sarah and Theodora Allen, Cornelius' wife, Marlen Suyapa Bodden's The Wedding Gift is an intimate portrait of slavery and the 19th Century South that will leave readers breathless.

About the Author

MARLEN SUYAPA BODDEN is a lawyer at The Legal Aid Society in New York City, the nations oldest and largest law firm for the poor. She drew on her knowledge of modern and historical slavery, human trafficking, and human rights abuses to write The Wedding Gift, her first novel. Marlen is a graduate of New York University School of Law and Tufts University. In 2012, the University of Rhode Island awarded Marlen an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Silvers Reviews, September 20, 2013 (view all comments by Silvers Reviews)
Poignant, heartbreaking, and unfortunately true.

THE WEDDING GIFT is beautiful in the sense of how the story is told in the author's marvelous prose and flowing style, but ugly in the harshness, cruelty, and reality of the events.

The characters will pull at your heart strings as you follow Emmeline, Belle, Sarah, and Theodora Allen through their day. The plantation owner's wife, Theodora Allen, is held under his thumb and must obey all his commands and put up with his physical and verbal abuse.

All these women are very strong characters in their own right, but have no rights in this era. This era seems to "own" the women whether they are free or enslaved. Another character who is one of the main characters, Clarissa Allen, Sarah's half sister and Clarissa's maid, is a spoiled brat but a good person underneath it all.

You will hate Mr. Cornelius Allen as well as most of the male characters for their cruelty and their shallow, arrogant thinking.

THE WEDDING GIFT is beautifully written and brings to light the way of life on a plantation and how it is run both inside and outside of the main house.

The book is told through Sarah and Theodora's voices. THE WEDDING GIFT talks about women and how they bond as well as how they endure the suffering at the hands of males whether it be verbal abuse, physical abuse, or infidelity. Infidelity on a plantation by the owner seemed to be something quite common.

I didn't want to put the book down. It was relayed so well and so smoothly that you felt as though you were there with all the characters crying with them and also helping them deal with what they had to endure whether they were the plantation's slaves or the owner's own family.

Don't miss out on this book....you just have to read it. You as a woman will want to share these experiences whether pleasant or unpleasant. You will also learn a great deal about history which more often than not is an unpleasant story as well as learning about the horrors of slavery and its impact on society.

A positive lesson though is to never give up, follow your dreams, and work hard. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781250026385
Author:
Bodden, Marlen Suyapa
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Author:
Lamia, Jenna
Author:
LaVoy, January
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
cultural heritage
Subject:
African American - Historical
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Contemporary Women
Subject:
African American - Contemporary Women
Subject:
Sagas
Subject:
Family life
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20130931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
9 CDs, 11 hours
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » African American » Historical
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Cultural Heritage

The Wedding Gift Used Hardcover
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$16.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages St. Martin's Press - English 9781250026385 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In this stunning debut, Marlen Suyapa Bodden effortlessly transports the reader to 1852 Alabama, where slavery and racism may rule the day, but everything isn't as black and white as it may seem. Sixteen-year-old Sarah Campbell is a housemaid to her half-sister Clarissa. Both daughters of plantation owner Mr. Allen, they secretly reject the roles they are expected to play. Sarah yearns for the day when she can escape slavery, while Clarissa is disinterested in her father's wishes for her to marry young and become mistress of her own plantation. But then Clarissa unexpectedly becomes pregnant before she's wed — changing the trajectory of both girls' lives. Bodden weaves a page-turning tangled web of misogyny, greed, scandal and violence in this powerful story about races colliding against the backdrop of America's darkest era. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,  In 1852, when prestigious Alabama plantation owner Cornelius Allen gives his daughter Clarissa's hand in marriage, she takes with her a gift: Sarah—her slave and her half-sister. Raised by an educated mother, Clarissa is not the proper Southern belle she appears to be, with ambitions of loving whom she chooses. Sarah equally hides behind the façade of being a docile house slave as she plots to escape. Both women bring these tumultuous secrets and desires with them to their new home, igniting events that spiral into a tale beyond what you ever imagined possible. Told through the alternating viewpoints of Sarah and Theodora Allen, Cornelius' wife, Marlen Suyapa Bodden's The Wedding Gift is an intimate portrait of slavery and the 19th Century South that will leave readers breathless.
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