Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes-a Book Review

I found Sugar by Jewel Parker Rhodes while I was looking for titles that Allison Moore has helped to edit. Sugar  is a 10yo former slave and orphan working on a sugar plantation in the South in 1870. The working conditions are not much better than before Emancipation, but those who stay believe the bad they know is better than the bad they don't. Sugar would like to be friends with the plantation owner's young son and doesn't understand why her people are so afraid of the new Chinese workers the owner hires. With Sugar's way of getting in trouble and her willingness to look beyond social mores, she has several escapades while teaching everyone around her tolerance for differences.

I thought the story was authentic and believable. Sugar doesn't do anything that another 10yo in her place couldn't do, but her voice and her attempts to work around the barriers that keep getting thrown before her are heart-warming. There is not a hint of preaching or moral telling to the story and no magic answers for Sugar, although she succeeds in getting the former slaves to be friends with the Chinese and even affects the views of the plantation owner and his wife. The author uses setting and description very effectively-when Sugar describes the heat and the hardship of cutting sugar cane, the reader is transported to the plantation worker's life of 150 years ago. Overall, enjoyable story with a gentle message about tolerance-4 stars.

No comments:

Post a Comment