August 26, 2012

Wench: A Novel

This month my book club chose to read Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez!

The book is something that is completely different from anything we've read and I had heard good reviews from a coworker of mine! It took me about 50 pages before I really got into it!

 The book revolves around a slave named Lizzie that "belongs" to Drayle (his last name). In case you were unaware (like I was) back in the day slave owners would sometimes develop more "personal" relations with their woman slaves. Yes, we've all heard about the slave owners raping their slaves but I was never aware that some would develop relationships with one slave, to the point of moving that slave into their home! I was extremely shocked by this and it took a lot for me to wrap my head around it.

The woman are still treated poorly, don't think that this is a real relationship, but they are treated better than the other slaves. In Lizzie's story she truly believes she loves Drayle, the man who owns her and also has 2 children with her. But it focuses a lot on the summers where her and Drayle would vacation up North (Where slaves were free) and stay at a resort. It was a resort where quite a few white man brought their "special" woman slave and where they stayed in the same cabin together.

Throughout the book you meet 3 other woman and 1 man (all slaves) that Lizzie spends her summers with while at the resort and they all have sad stories to tell! 

The book is pretty gut wrenching and hard to believe, but I assure you it's true. In fact the resort they stayed at during those summers was turned into a school for African Americans and it's been said that those children of the men and their slave woman who stayed there were some of the first to attend the school. 

Overall the book was just plain sad. A book about slavery is already sad enough but then to toss in this very odd arrangement and it's heart breaking. Even though it was sad I still enjoyed it while I read it. I got thoroughly sucked in and finished it in 2 days so it's an easy read as well!!

My grade for this novel - B. It's worth a read if you are at all into the history from that time period!



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