I saw a book recently that I if I’m honest, I looked at the cover and thought it might be a Civil War period book so I grabbed it up and put it on my hold list. The book was Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson.
I started the book and quickly got right into it. The book actually takes place pre-Civil War at the height of slavery. I admit to normally being drawn to these types of books. Books that portray people who are the underdogs triumphing over unheard of or difficult circumstances often give me hope that more people can also overcome their hard position in life.
This book, I quit. It wasn’t because the book was bad. It wasn’t because the book didn’t have my attention. It wasn’t because the book was unbelievable. It was that the book was too believable. I could not read about Pheby, the main character, being raped another time. I could not read about another pregnancy caused by that rape. I could not read about another beating. I could not bear witness, through words, even though fiction, to more harm being done to this woman.
I’m having a hard time knowing if that means in a situation like this I would have brave enough to stand up and say no more at the risk of punishment to myself or if I would have been a coward and walked away like I am walking away from this book. I can’t read anymore…and that’s the dilemma I am now in. I certainly hope I would have been strong enough to try to stop it even if it meant risk to myself…
The thing is, I’d like to know what happened to Pheby. Was she able to escape? Was she reunited with her love? Could she save her babies? Could she save herself? Did the awful man the Jailer get what was coming to him? I guess I won’t know. I can’t get past the spot I am in. It’s too hard to read.
Here is what Amazon had to say:
“Born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Pheby Delores Brown has lived a relatively sheltered life. Shielded by her mother’s position as the estate’s medicine woman and cherished by the Master’s sister, she is set apart from the others on the plantation, belonging to neither world.
She’d been promised freedom on her 18th birthday, but instead of the idyllic life she imagined with her true love, Essex Henry, Pheby is forced to leave the only home she has ever known. She unexpectedly finds herself thrust into the bowels of slavery at the infamous Devil’s Half Acre, a jail in Richmond, Virginia, where the enslaved are broken, tortured, and sold every day. There, Pheby is exposed not just to her Jailer’s cruelty but also to his contradictions. To survive, Pheby will have to outwit him, and she soon faces the ultimate sacrifice.”
Amazon readers gave the book 4.7 stars…I can’t rate it. I didn’t finish it, and I won’t.
You can find the book HERE if you want to give it a try.