Review Detail

Kids Fiction 1140
A Different Look at Slave History
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
Jem is a slave who must escape to a freed-slaves colony in Florida, after being set into the care of Phaedra, a mysterious but toughened woman with whom he must travel and remain once they arrive at Fort Mose, which is held by the Spanish. As he learns to live with her incessant ridicule and control, he begins to stand up for himself and takes pride in the baby owl he found in the woods and has raised into an adult. This book weaves a tale that takes one far into the past and behind the scenes of one of the most significant changes in our nation's history.

I found this book to be very, very slow. Though I was interested enough in Jem and his plight, the mysteries and their answers were too far removed from each other, and some of them didn't quite make sense to me. What I appreciated as I read was the ability of the author to take me into that time, and how I could sense how familiar she had made herself with Fort Mose and its history. The interracial dynamics, the introduction to different foods they ate and crafts they created, and the tense period of time Jem lived in were all very clearly wrought. I think this would be a great book to read in a history class, but sadly, the story was not as cohesive as I had wished.
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