The Healing
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The Healing

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  4,400 ratings  ·  755 reviews
Rich in mood and atmosphere, The Healing is awarmhearted novel about the unbreakable bonds between three generations of female healers and their power to restore the body, the spirit, and the soul.

In Antebellum Mississippi, Granada Satterfield has the mixed fortune to be born on the same day that her plantation mistress's daughter, Becky, dies of cholera. Believing that th...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 21st 2012 by Nan A. Talese (first published January 1st 2012)
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Corine I assumed Rubina's last baby was somehow not born alive, so maybe she wasn't carrying a child. Author's mystery.
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I approached this novel warily because it had been compared to a wildly popular piece of Southern fiction of which I was not fond. I'm happy to report that I found the comparison entirely inapt. Odell's work offers greater subtlety of message and a richer, more authentic representation of people, period, and place.

The healing for which the book is named refers not only to healing of the body, but also to the power of connecting through stories to heal the parts of us that can't be touched in an...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 2* of five

The Book Description: "Compelling, tragic, comic, tender and mystical... Combines the historical significance of Kathryn Stockett's The Help with the wisdom of Toni Morrison's Beloved." —Minneapolis Star Tribune

Rich in mood and atmosphere, The Healing is awarmhearted novel about the unbreakable bonds between three generations of female healers and their power to restore the body, the spirit, and the soul.

In Antebellum Mississippi, Granada Satterfield has the mixed fortune to b...more
Gayle
While I admire Pat Conroy, I was disheartened by his comparing this book to The Help.
I had read enough leading up to the release of the book to know that Jon O'Dell had done massive research so I expected it to outshine The Help. The Help is entertaining, but The Healing is so much more.

The writing is flawless; the story is true to its time in history. This is literature at its finest and it's going
to affect many people. By the time I finished, I was weeping ... and for many reasons:
For the sa...more
Chrissie
I like this book, but it didn't blow me over. There is nothing specific I can complain about.

At the end of the audiobook the author includes an interview he had with a very old midwife, as part of his research for the novel. She was in her 80s or 90s. She answers questions such as exactly how she delivered the babies, how many deliveries she had preformed and if any mother had gotten mad at her. Yup, one bit her. This section I adored. What a woman! Midwifery in the South during the 1860s is a...more
Emily
I was asked to review an advanced copy of this book for my sister's bookstore. One of her employees highly recommended it and said that it was the next "The Help." I have not read "The Help," but on the surface there are some similarities. However, this book focuses on the lives of slaves in the Mississippi delta area just prior to the civil war. The overall tone is uplifting, it pays tribute to some of the shocking and horrible things that occurred during that time, but primarily focuses on hop...more
Jaime Boler
Author Jonathan Odell writes that American slaves and their descendants "have strived and survived as a proud of community and, in spite of every adversity imaginable, infused the larger American culture with a richness like none other." Their story is our story, he maintains. What a story he tells in his second novel The Healing, to be released in February 2012. Historically accurate details and characters that seem to come to life on the page populate the book. The African-American slaves in O...more
Sara
I found this book at Costco while browsing the book table (I go around 3 times), and picked it up. Lalita Tademy, author of Cane River, gave The Healing an excellent review and I really liked the cover. I found it interesting that a gay, white man wanted to attempt to write about a slave women and their relationships. He pulled it off. Being originally from Mississippi, Odell felt that dealing with this subject healed wounds for himself. The story centers around Granada who is chosen by the slav...more
Barb
There's a lot to like in this novel. If you read and enjoyed March by Geraldine Brooks, The Kitchen House, by Kathleen Grissom or The Help, by Kathryn Stockett you will probably enjoy this story as well.

Gran Gran, in her nineties in 1933, recalls the conflicts and hardships of her childhood as a slave and the life altering impact that a wise woman named Polly Shine had on her when she was chosen to learn the woman's healing ways.

I liked the characters Jonathan Odell created, the story is compe...more
Lindsay
I was given this book by my neighbor for my birthday soon after I moved back to Mississippi in late 2012. She said that I reminded her of the main character. I hadn't been interested in reading a fiction novel at the time...so it sat on my shelf until just last week (late January). I read the book in a matter of days and am so thankful it found its way to me. Jonathan Odell has written, not only a seamless narrative, he has given life to unspoken histories... His book gives insight into the oppr...more
Vivian
There are numerous books about slaves and the Deep South but few leave an indelible impression on this reader. The Healing by Jonathan Odell is one such book. Granada is born into slavery but has spent most of her young life at the side of the plantation mistress, much like a pet. Unfortunately Granada views her life through rose-tinted glasses and presumes that she is much better than other slaves simply because of her so-called status with the mistress. When Master Satterfield faces a plague t...more
Janelle
I love this book and would highly recommend it. Anybody that draws you into characters like this is worth reading!
Jo Butler
Granada is an enslaved girl, torn from her mother’s arms on a whim to be raised in a mansion as the mistress’s pet. Sometimes dressed in finery, sometimes scrubbing the kitchen floor, the confused Granada knows nothing of her past – who her mother is, where her people came from, or of the ancient voices who could guide the girl if only she knew how to use her Sight.

The master brings a healer home, paying an unworldly price for the ancient hoodoo woman. Polly Shine recognizes Granada’s gift and o...more
Alena
I should have loved this novel. It has most of the ingredients I seek.
1) Historical Fiction. The story takes place just before and after the Civil War so we’re treated to a glimpse of the unrest prior to Emancipation and to the hardship following the war.
2) Young girl’s perspective. We meet Granada when she is just 11. Spoiled (for a slave that is) and petulant, we watch her mature and gain a true understanding of her roots and her identity.
3) Strong female characters. This book is populated wit...more
Jean
Set in the Mississippi Delta, The Healing is the story of the lives of the slaves on a cotton plantation. In fact, it is much more than this. It is about the physical healing by a slave (and the girl that she teaches). Odell also recognizes the importance to slaves of keep their memories alive as a healing balm.

The book has wonderful, colorful characters, though not to the point of being unbelievable. It is well written and true to the times. The Healing has been compared to The Help but in, my...more
Holly
I was so fortunate to get my hands on an advanced copy of this book - a friend passed it along because she felt so strongly about this story. I loved this book for so many reasons, and will be pestering all my reading buddies to read it when it's available later this month.

This is a story that seems to be about the slave experience in pre-Civil War Mississippi, but is, in many ways, a universal story. I loved that a strong, smart, independent woman was a central character. I loved that this was...more
Diane S.
What an amazing and magical read. I absolutely loved it and so did not want it to end. It is the eve of the Civil War, on a large plantation in Mississippi and the master pays a unprecedented sum of money for a woman slave said to be a healer. Things are not going well on the plantation, slaves are dying and the mistress is going insane after the death of her daughter. Enters Polly Shine, a character I will never forget. I read an interview by this author and he includes much in his afterword, o...more
Autumn
Do yourself a favor and get yourself the audiobook of The Healing today, like now, when you're done reading this. One of the best stories I've heard in a long time. I'm sure the book it great, but audiobook is just so fantastic. Make sure to listen to the author's note and the midwife's interview at the end.


The first time I talked to anybody about this book I told my husband I was listening to an audiobook about plantation slaves from a woman's point of view and I was really having a hard time b...more
Chivon
This was the best book I have read all year and a book that I think everyone should read. This was a magnificent story, it felt like I was being transported to another time and another place. I could smell the smells, hear the sounds, and see the sights. While the subject matter can be sad at times, it wasn't too much to deal with because I know what went on in slavery times. Instead of just being a story about that time, it was a story about a child during that time, what she felt and went thro...more
Tara
A great deal of research went into this book, and it shows, without being glaringly educational. An intense look at plantation life from the pov of the "swamp slave," and a respectful exploration of the role midwives played amongst the slave population before the 1950s. A very female-centered book, this story highlights the importance of oral history and has one of the best definitions of freedom I've ever heard:

"All Freedom is two words: 'Yes' and 'No.'"

So simple, but so true, this book delves...more
Heather
This is a beautifully imagined take on plantation life and the emotional, spiritual and physical healing that is needed through such strife. It took me a while to really think about the book after finishing. On the surface, the book is a well written story. But after considering the characters, and their actions, with the whole premise of "healing" as a character, it became much more. I often think not alot has changed in our treatment of others and we all need a healing of some sort. Odell's si...more
MK Brunskill-Cowen
Every once in a while I get so lost in a book that I forget where I am ... this is one of those books. It's the story of Granada - the child of a field slave "adaopted" by the deranged plantation mistress, and who is then sent to work for Polly Shine, the strange new healer that the master bought. We see the plantation through the eyes of 12 year-old Granada as she grows from house slave to hearler. We feel the yearnings for freedom. I loved how the author brought the plantation to life, making...more
Catherine
The thing I found amazing is that this story was written by a white, agnostic man, yet he captured the voice of a god loving slave woman - a healer. I found this story strangely comforting and healing to my own soul. I love the quote on page 201 "''In the beginning God created. That's all anybody need to know about God, Granada. It ain't never over with God.'" And "'Our God is sure enough a starting-over God.'"

I like that this story shows the importance of being visible and that we need to care...more
Ann
Since I am one of the few people on the face of the planet who didn't like The Help, the fact that this novel has been favorably compared to it should have been a big ole warning sign. Call me crazy, but a male author spending so much time on constructing the metaphor of a women's period and subsequent childbirth as a river connecting us to our past made me cringe, as did the dream sequences. Nothing makes me want to run screaming from the room faster than someone retelling their dreams; even wo...more
Laurie Richards
I LOVED this book. I teach creative writing and found absolutely nothing wanting in this novel. Such a compelling story with memorable characters and a theme of connection with all life.
Belinda
Did not finish. Did not hold my interest. Read about half of the book.
Sue Willey
I read this book just after seeing "Twelve Years a Slave" so the two depictions were interesting to compare. Beyond the historical perspective, what I most liked was the major theme of knowing ourselves, who we are and where we come from - we are all part of the river of life and all the stories are so important. Women are the storytellers. This underscored my love of family stories (always a big item when my family gets together!) and the delight I find right now in my 17-month-old granddaughte...more
Cindi
Jan 12, 2012 Cindi rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
It's been quite some time since I've read a book that I could honestly rate five stars--one that I thoroughly enjoyed; found the characters and plot engaging and the writing beautiful, inspiring and emotional and then could actually recommend to any of my friends.

The Healing by Jonathan Odell is that book.

Granada, a young slave girl and the pampered pet of the grieving mistress, has her eyes opened and her life changed when the master buys Polly Shine, a healer. Polly immediately recognizes that...more
Sasha


I wanted to like this book- and I did - sort of. I just found many of the characters and situations unbelievable. Polly Shine can "read" people so well - but can't predict what Granada will do after the incident with Rubina? And the "master" spending $5000 and building a hospital for a "slave" who does pretty much whatever she wants?!
I get and like the message that everyone has a history and can't be defined by what others want them to be- but I found the apprenticeship of Granada (where the mes...more
Vannessagrace Vannessagrace
The story begins and ends with Granada who was stolen from her mother arms shortly after birth by the master’s wife who was grieving the death of her daughter, and who decided that Granada would replace her dead child. Though the master’s wife didn’t love Granada, she treated her like a cherished pet and Granada, not knowing better, mistook the treatment as a mother’s love and acceptance.

Master Satterfield bought Polly Shine, a slave and a healer, to cure his slaves of a mysterious plague. While...more
Amy
A Mississippi plantation mistress, Amanda Satterfield, loses her daughter to cholera after her husband refuses to treat her for what he refers to as a, “slave disease.” In turn of these events, Amanda begins to lose her mind and decides to take a newborn slave in as her own, taking her from her family that loves her. She renames the little girl Granada, and begins to parade her around in her daughter’s clothing and allowing her to be part of family dinners, despite her husband and their friends...more
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Born in Mississippi, I grew up in the Jim Crow South and became involved in the civil rights movement in college. I hold a master’s degree in counseling psychology and have been active in human resource development for over 30 years, including holding the position of Vice President of Human Resources for a Minneapolis based corporation and later founding my own consulting companies.

I am the author...more
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“Sometiimes when you look at a person all you see is the tangle and you miss the weave” 11 likes
“A flapping tongue puts out the light of wisdom."~Polly Shine” 5 likes
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