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The Healing

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  6,852 Ratings  ·  954 Reviews
"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 a warmhearted novel about the unbreakable bonds between three generations of female healers and their power to restore the body, the spirit, a
ebook, 320 pages
Published February 21st 2012 by Anchor
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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
Feb 24, 2012 Gayle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Richard Derus
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 a warmhearted 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
Oct 21, 2013 Londa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is truly exceptional. It delves deeply into the healing power of women and their gift of creation and life. The women in this novel were so well written that I had a hard time believing it was written by a man! Another of my favorites The Book of Night Women shares that compliment.

So glad that I got to meet Gran Gran, Polly, Violet and all of the other women Odell brought to life. I highly recommend it to anyone. Especially those who may want to read a gentler more optimistic story fr
Jaime Boler
Oct 27, 2011 Jaime Boler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Diane S ☔
Oct 28, 2011 Diane S ☔ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 14, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
I can't possibly write a review that measures up to how much I love this book. The Healing is not just another tale on the horrors of slavery. It captures not just the mind, but the heart and soul of enslaved people. Honestly, I was shocked to learn that this amazing work of African American historical fiction was written by a white male from Mississippi. In fact, I may not have read the book if I'd known that upfront. But Odell handled the subject with more insight and sensitivity than I could' ...more
Mar 15, 2012 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 20, 2012 Alena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard
I had a very enlightening time with this book, creating my own historical fiction/self discovery along the way. I found some parts kind of creepy, but on the whole this was not a scary book. This is a moving coming of age story centering on overcoming slavery of the mind, and of having the bravery to heal physical and psychological wounds. One of the characters, a beautiful girl named Rubina, carries the same name as my beautiful mother (also my middle name). The art of healing (in Indian cultur ...more
Jun 10, 2012 CaShawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading THE HEALING by Jonathan Odell. I highly recommend it, especially to the doulas, midwives, birth assistants, teachers & other healers. It is an AMAZING novel. Easily the best book I've read this year. book, along with Jonathan Odell's book "A View From Delphi", is everything "The Help" wishes it could be if it weren't for the tremendous and ridiculous ego of the author. I don't ride for that book at all. But "The Healing" & "A View From Delphi" get ALL THE STARS on ...more
Feb 02, 2014 Lindsay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 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
Heather Fineisen
Mar 15, 2012 Heather Fineisen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Star Ryan
Mar 22, 2017 Star Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

this is a book that you don't realize how much you like it until it has already snuck up on you and then there is no way out. It just gets better and better the deeper you are immersed. It isn't surprising the author was mistaken for African American with his prior novel, I had a really hard time believing that a white person, let alone a man could write these black women characters so exquisitely well! Its obvious O'dell has done massive amounts if research in compiling this story. So beaut
Feb 02, 2012 Vivian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 23, 2012 Autumn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 13, 2012 Beverly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoughts on the book:
• I enjoyed the book and thought it was well-researched and written
• Like all – at first I was not anxious to read because of the pre-pub about comparing it to The Help, but thanks to Phyllis reading/reviewing the book my mind was changed and I was anxious to read.
• Really liked how the author focused/informed about the slave healers and why slave masters used them and why the slaves appreciated them.
• I liked how the characters were unique and varied enough so that the rea
Aug 21, 2012 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kenya (BookedUpBoss)
Oct 26, 2016 Kenya (BookedUpBoss) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
I really enjoyed this book, written as stories of an old woman's tales to a mute/ traumatized child who is in her care. The stories begin with the woman as a girl, born to slavery and dressed as a doll for the mentally unstable mistress of a large plantation. When she meets an old woman who talks of Freedom she is lost and scared but begins to learn that Freedom isn't a place but the ability to choose for yourself. The book was engaging and well written.

The author's note is worth the listen and
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
Jul 22, 2013 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mississippi Library Commission
The Healing is a fascinating book about African-Americans before the Civil War and during the 1930s. The characters Granada and Polly will stay with us for quite some time, as well as Odell's take on midwifery, Mississippi, and life.
May 03, 2012 Janelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I love this book and would highly recommend it. Anybody that draws you into characters like this is worth reading!
Mocha Girl
Aug 15, 2011 Mocha Girl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With this being an Amazon Vine choice, I admittedly had very little background on this novel aside from a few snippets of praise from its publisher. It is seemingly marketed with references and comparisons to Katheryn Stockett’s The Help which I find unfair and inaccurate. Aside from both authors being Mississippi-born, it is my opinion that The Healing excels and celebrates where The Help failed and insulted me. In short, while I realize I am in the minority by disliking The Help, I thoroughly ...more
Jan 05, 2012 Cindi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jo Butler
Apr 12, 2012 Jo Butler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 15, 2015 Sheri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: race
This book wasn't bad. It is lauded as similar to The Help, but I would argue only in that it is about race.

Odell presents the story of a slave girl on the cusp of the civil war. Granada's development as a woman coincides with her Freedom, a passage which is abetted by Polly. Odell tries to be profound and Polly and Silas present interesting characters (the bold and powerful slave vs. the traitor to his people and powerful slave), but ultimately they are both intelligent enough to grasp the bene
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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 about Jonathan Odell...

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“Sometiimes when you look at a person all you see is the tangle and you miss the weave” 15 likes
“A flapping tongue puts out the light of wisdom."~Polly Shine” 9 likes
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