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The Root Worker

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3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  47 ratings  ·  10 reviews
A remarkable debut novel than limns the shadowy landscape between innocence and experience, The Root Worker is the riveting story of Ellen, an eleven-year-old african-american girl growing up in Detroit in the 1960s. As described in Ellen's own voice, the world is a threatening place. She is afraid of her teachers, nuns at the Catholic school she attends who instill in her ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published May 21st 2001 by Overlook Hardcover
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Titilayo
it's rare that i start a book and finish it in one day. i wasn't too keen on doing that when i started reading the root worker. i was just going to go two chapters in and start on something else; but i was drawn in. i wasn't sure if the narrator was clarissa or ellen or omnipotence in print. i felt it leading me somewhere. like story was being woven and i only saw a few spindles of thread working at creating a masterpiece. a gargantuan piece of lace spread out across detroit in the 60s. in the l ...more
Petra
A horrifying story of a young girl's experiences at the hands of her mother and passive family and community. One's heart goes out to the girl as she searches for a safer life, although harboring no real hope.
The character of Ellen is one that the reader quickly feels empathy and heart for and wishes her free of her dilemma.
Blu
Jul 15, 2010 Blu rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who loved Alice Walker's "The Color Purple" or Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye"
It's been quite awhile since I've actually FINISHED a book but "The Root Worker" was one I had a hard time putting down! It's the tragic story of 11-year old Ellen who suffers horrible abuse at the hands of her mother, her older brother, and the neighborhood 'root worker'. The author made the story so real and painted such a vivid picture of the neighborhood and its people as seen through the eyes of Ellen. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Alice Walker' ...more
Kim
I want to give this book negative stars. I hated it. It has been compared to the Bluest Eye by critics but the only similarity I could see is that the main character is sexually abused. And in this book she is sexually abused repeatedly and graphically. Within the first 50 or so pages there are something like 3 rape scenes described in sickening detail. I stopped reading it and wanted to wash my brain afterward.
J.R. Randle
Apr 08, 2008 J.R. Randle rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: literary or mystical buff
Recommended to J.R. by: Margaret
I absolutely love this novel. The characters were brought to life, vividly with clear expression. As a reader you quickly begin to feel deeply for Ellen(the main character). The author represents literary voices missing in today's publishing world.

Matt
I met Ms. Burton once upon a time.

This book is gritty and scary and it has a Gothic kind of flavor to it. An interesting read. One of a kind.
Patricia
This book was amazing! It was graphic and violent, but at the same time innocent and beautiful. This is not a book for everyone.
Malika
Another Deeeeetroit born author. Haunting book, I hope Raynelle has more stories to tell.
Mantis38
I really enjoyed this book it was powerfully feminine- raw, earthy, and sometimes frightening.
Pure
Mar 07, 2011 Pure added it
Still trying to come to grips with this one so unbelieable................
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