Friday, July 31, 2015

Book Review: Hang a Thousand Trees With Ribbons

Title: Hang a Thousand Trees With Ribbons
Author: Ann Rinaldi
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Rating: 5

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Kidnapped from her home in Senegal and sold as a slave in 1761, Phillis Wheatley--as she comes to be known--stuns her adopted country by becoming America's first published black poet.

Review: I tend to forget how much I love historical fiction, especially the slave era.  Although, my favorite time period happens to be the 1920's.  If time travel was a thing, that's what year I'd be in... 

Once I started reading the story of Phillis Wheatley, I couldn't stop.  The first couple of chapters start out with teenage Phillis who has a special meeting with "the most noble men in Boston" to prove her reading and writing skills.  Before the important committee reveals their thoughts, the story flashes back to January of 1761 when Phillis was just a child growing up in a tiny village with her mother and infamous hunter of a father.  At that time, she was known as Keziah.  Keziah/Phillis sneaks out late one night in an effort to meet with her best friend, Obour, but it is there where the two are kidnapped by no one other than Keziah/Phillis' uncle.  

Plot twists, such as the identity of Keziah/Phillis and Obour's kidnapper, were not only a reality during the slave trade period, but was also what encouraged me to turn the page. I wanted to hug Aunt Cumsee, slap Mary Wheatley, joke with Prince, but more than anything, I wanted Nathaniel Wheatley to fall in love with Phillis.

Nathaniel took Phillis under his wing right after his father bought her.  He taught her how to read, he helped her discover her writing talents, he defended her, he encouraged her, he stood by her side... he was practically her older brother.  She wanted more, and so did I.  Except, mixed relationships were unheard of back then.  Probably even frowned upon.  I'm one of those people who strongly believe in "love is love" and that people have the right to choose who they love and not be defined or judged by it.  It's not who you love, it's how you love.

The ending tore me to pieces.  It was no where close to a perfect wrap up.  Older Phillis seemed to have lost her spark and love for life.  She wasn't happy and she wasn't upset; she was just casually going by day by day like a ghost.  With such a successful comeback story, I was hoping for something more.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let's talk about books... (: