*review copy provided by author*Beyond Freedom is the story of fifteen-year-old Mattie, a free slave living in Boston in 1812. Mattie, through a series of fortuitous events, meets Lydia, a rich white girl and comes to work at her house. During that time, Mattie gets to see the many faces of white prejudice. Lydia, who doesn't know much about the way black people are treated; her mother, who despises all Negroes; her father, who is quietly disgusted at slavery; and other white servants, who treat Mattie with contempt and disgust. Mattie slowly learns just how fortunate she has been in being freed, and just how much she and others of her people still have to overcome.
Things I Liked:
The details and facts we learn about Boston and free slaves living there are very interesting. I knew next to nothing about Massachusetts laws on free slaves, living conditions, and slavery in New England before reading this. It opened my eyes to some of the prejudices and advances that were being made for African American people at that time. I liked being able to see how different people, both black and white, viewed slavery, free blacks, and how they wanted to overcome (or not) those problems.
Things I Didn't Like:
The story felt very much a vehicle for telling facts about the time. The story felt made up for the purpose of giving information (which it kind of was, but I don't think should necessarily feel that way). Mattie also seemed very juvenile for a fifteen-year-old. She felt more like ten or twelve. Mostly, it was her naivete about everything that gave me this impression. I think tweens and younger kids who are really interested in historical fiction will enjoy it.
Child Out of Place by Patricia Q. Wall (Beyond Freedom is the sequel to this book)
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
Black Angels by Linda Beatrice Brown
BOOK CONTENT RATINGS:
Overall rating: ***
There isn't a lot of New England and slavery or free slaves fiction. Any suggestions?
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