Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Review: Jubilee by Margaret Walker

JubileeJubilee by Margaret Walker

Imagine waking up each morning, knowing that your life was not yours to live, that you were under someone else's control. Imagine waking up and knowing that you had a hard day's labor, and you weren't getting paid. Imagine if you tried to "quit" this job, you would be whipped mercilessly.

For Elvira "Vyry" Brown, this wasn't anything to imagine, it was her life. Born a slave to her white master and his black slave mistress, fate was not on her side from the get go. Oh her early life, up until age six was charmed so to speak. Her only job was to play with her half sister and keep her company. That was until she reached working age... seven! After that Vyry's place on the plantation became clear, first as a house servant, later as the head cook. The story, written by Vyry's great-granddaughter Margaret Walker, takes us from her birth, through her life as a slave, to her eventual freedom. Her path to freedom was not easy but Vyry demonstrated an unquestionable faith throughout. She also demonstrated a kind and giving heart by taking care of the very people who persecuted her throughout life.

Margaret Walker heard the story of Vyry from her grandmother, Vyry's daughter Minna. How precious the words must have seemed!! You can feel the love and admiration through each paragraph of this book. It's not just an autobiography, it a family history and it's wonderfully written. I was drawn into this book from the beginning. The way that the author described the emotions and the plantation activities was so vivid. Having read other autobiographies about this time, I found that Margaret Walker is a top storyteller in this genre. By the time I finished this book, I had no doubt about the character of Vyry Brown.

Definitely a great read for a lover of African American history, Civil War buffs, and anyone who is interested in learning more about that time frame.

Love and Blessings!

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