Luane's Reviews > The Kitchen House

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
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's review
Nov 05, 2011

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Read in November, 2011

As one of the better reads of late, I'm surprised to find that I can't give this book more stars. The novelty of living the black slave's plantation life from a white indentured servant's perspective was fresh and engrossing. Tales of abuse, addiction, and rape illustrate the brutality and helplessness not only of slaves but also the white owners as well. It is a nicely written, easy to read story of love, loyalty, belonging, and hope found in the middle of what most would consider hell. While Lavinia's plight as the Irish orphan serving the dysfunctional Pyke family who eventually learns the proper white ways was heartbreaking, suspenseful, and even a bit perplexing (could she really think life was that peachy keen at the plantation? could one so readily become a part of the establishment after witnessing such degradation? if so, the author didn't convey the sense of need convincingly.), the characters were too tried and true to make an impression. Yes, I grieved for the unfortunate Belle, gained the proper respect for Mama Mae's wisdom, and rooted for Papa and Ben but I couldn't help thinking that they have nothing on Tom and Eliza or even that frankly-my-dear-i-don't-give-a-damn stalwart, Mammy. And Rankin a poor impression of Simon Legree. Having said that, it's a believable if not unpredictable story simply written that does a satisfying job of giving a taste of American slave life in the early years of this country. If you want the real thing, I highly recommend Uncle Tom's Cabin or Gone with the Wind.
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