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The Price of a Child

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  399 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
An intimate, gripping novel of the antebellum Underground Railroad, based on the true story of a valiant Philadelphia freedwoman -- the first novel we have had from the author of Black Ice, the "stunning memoir" (New York Times) of a black student's experience at a New England prep school in the 1970S.

The Price of a Child opens in the fall of 1855. A Virginia planter is on
ebook, 336 pages
Published March 23rd 2011 by Vintage (first published 1995)
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Maya B
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stand-alone
the author had good intentions as far as the storyline but the way the story was executed was very dull.
Jun 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bought this book on a whim at the Philly AIDS Thrift Shop (90% off all books? yes, please). I read it in its entirety in a 16 hour journey from Paris to Philly. Needless to say, the book definitely helped those hours fly by.

I really enjoyed this book. I especially liked that it takes place in Philadelphia and gave a good insight about how slavery was viewed in the US, and especially PA, in 1855. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in historical fiction or to anyone
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Two stars - it was okay. The story itself was good, but it got lost in the telling. For exemple, I found myself frustrated when, after Ginnie finally climbed out from beneath the blankets and straw in the wagon to breathe freely, the narration turned toward the Quick family. These were Ginnie's first real moments of freedom, but the author chose this moment to introduce them. I might add that there were so many members in this family that I could never quite keep them all straight, apart from Ha ...more
Alexine Fleck
I'm about half way through, and it's not as good as I really wanted it to be. But then I wonder, do I hold historical novels about slavery to higher standards? How does a person write really well about this enormous traumatic injustice that went on for centuries? And I hate to say it, but how does one write about slavery after Toni Morrison wrote about slavery?

That said, I just think it's thin. I don't much care about the romance plot. I want Mercer to be happy, but I don't want to read about t
Jun 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story was compelling, the characters were not, the writing difficult to read. The text came off as being preachy, which is fine if that is what the book is supposed to do. Although this is a difficult subject to write about, I have read other books on the same topic and come away feeling as though I was a part of the book. I know I was supposed to care about all of these characters, but they weren't written for us to know them, only to read about them.
Jack Becker
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hum-iv, sps-author
Although slow at times, I found this book to be filled with beautiful prose, vivid characters, and striking statements of truth that opened my eyes in new ways, as well as a lot more historical back-ground on this time period and area of slavery; Lorene Cary certainly did do her research, and has a talent for sliding historical facts into the story without you really realizing it (until your Humanities teacher makes you look the stuff up). I definitely recommend it.
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved the beginning of the book, but it quickly turned into a story about the Quick Family and not the child Mercer left behind. If this in fact based on a true story, I would like to know if Mercer ever found Bennie.
Aug 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good book. I like this author and I recommend it.
Angela Luckey
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good look at the situation of slavery through the eyes of Mercer Grey (aka Virginia Pryor) as she escapes while traveling through Philadelphia.
I loved this read
Jul 31, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: civil-rights
One book one Philadelphia. 2003?
Regina Lobree
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Price of a Child

Interesting read which follows the course of a runaway slave and her children. The horrors of slavery should not surprise the reader. There are many names and family members to remember. The "cost" of freedom is high for the main character as she tries to make a new life for herself amidst the loss of her child.
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: racial-justice

This was a 2003 One Book, One Philadelphia Pick.

Philadelphian Lorene Cary's The Price of a Child is a novel set in Pre-Civil War Philadelphia in 1855. This is the story of a young female slave who escapes from her owner while traveling through Philadelphia and uses the Underground Railroad to find freedom, reclaiming her voice and her life.
Mary Young
Dec 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sad tale of history

A well written historical saga of a time when slavery split this country like immigration does today and the conscience of a country began to evolve beyond a fear and a hate that still survives in a memory appearing even today to show us that where we've come from is not that far behind us.
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the story of a woman’s journey to freedom but I think it got lost in the writing. The other characters were developed so much more than Mercer. I give the book 3.5
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love historical fiction and this book gave a glimpse of history with depth and texture. You felt like you were observing history.
Jan 18, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was not a fan of this book. I thought I would like it, but no
Kim Kamis
never grabbed my attention
Tamatha Lancaster
Reading something that you don’t really enjoy can be hard for many people. But sometimes there’s something about the book that keeps a person reading it. It could be because of something they heard about the book or just curiosity. Very few people does this because when they aren’t very interested, they give up on the book.

From interesting to suspenseful to boring to interesting again, Lorene Cary’s novel “The Price of a Child” tells about a family who was able to become free. After many years,
This book takes place in 1855 and follows a slave and mother of 3 named Ginnie. Growing up as an educated slave, her owner Jackson Pryor always treated her well and liked her, he liked her so much that he is the father of her three children. The novel starts out with Jackson only allowing Ginnie to bring her two oldest children with him and her as they travel north. Once in Philadelphia, Ginnie and the kids managed to escape from Jackson. They then had to go into hiding with help from the Quick' ...more
Aquil Thompson--king
In this book "The Price of a Child", the main character Ginnie Pryor is a woman with two children who are trying to start a new life by trying to get away from a man named Jackson. They go through out the whole state of Pennsylvania to find a place where they could stay permanently. Ginnie later on in the story changes her name to Mercer, goes to court to become a free woman from Jackson Pryor. After that, Ginnie and Tyree start to have feelings for each other and try to begin a relationship unt ...more
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Masterfully written, beautifully structured, and gracefully portrayed, The Price of a Child is a literary stroke of genius. For readers who enjoy historical fiction set during antebellum period, this novel will not disappoint. The novel opens during the year of 1855, when Lorene Cary introduces the heroin character of Ginnie Pryor, a Virginia plantation slave, and her crusade to seek freedom. Cary also brilliantly addresses Philadelphia’s Underground Railroad history by intriguingly basing the c ...more
Aug 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a selection for One Book, One Philadephia, an event that encourages the entire city to read the same book. It tells the story of Mercer Gray, a black woman living in Philadelphia circa 1855. Constitutional issues surrounding race and justice are part of our nation's struggle.

I read this book 9 years ago and just stumbled upon the calendar of events booklet that promoted this incredible undertaking by the city of Philadelphia. Applause! Applause! What a magnificent idea to bring a city t
May 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my second reading. It was amazing. I really enjoyed the relationship between Mercer and Tyrene. Theirs was a relationship they could not pursue. Just a great, true story about slavery and those really hard times.
An intimate, gripping novel of the antebellum Underground Railroad, based on the true story of a valiant Philadelphia freedwoman. This is the first novel we have had from the author of Black Ice, the stunning memoir of a black student's experience at a New England prep
Second read: March 30, 2016. I can't believe I've already read this! I had absolutely no memory of having read it before. This time around, I liked it a lot more than the first time. The Quicks didn't bother me much. I guess I just sort of skimmed over them and focused more on Mercer.

First read: July 12, 2011. Two stars. I thought this would be a really good book. The beginning rocked and the principal character, Ginnie/Mercer, was initially fascinating. But then the focus of the book seemed to
Kathleen McRae
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a good read and depicted life as a slave woman who freed from her "owner" and predator has to deal with the reality of 1855 society in Philly USA that much as it has chosen not to enslave people has a long way to go on race issues. Many of the roadblocks to emancipation that America put up are detailed in this book such as keeping the negroes uneducated so they might not recognize their rights.Sounds like the fight women are going thru today and racism is still alive and well This ...more
May 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
2009 #10: This was a really good story about the issues in the U.S. at the time when slavery was legal in the South but not the North. It dealt wit some interesting issues, like whether a mother could/should leave behind one child in slavery in order to escape with two of her other children. It also showed the white people in the North fawning over the escaped slaves from the South. While most of them still didn't believe the blacks should have equal rights, their help and funding was a big part ...more
Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written from a realistic and forthright perspective, the story is about a young woman, enslaved first by one master, then, in freedom, used by another. The perspective allowed this reader to see how well-intentioned abolitionists carted freed slaves around as if they were a side-show, telling tales and showing scars in order to make a statement. Is a kind slave master that different from a stern and demanding abolitionist master? I think the author asked this question throughout the novel, with ...more
Izetta Autumn
Jun 25, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a pleasant surprise. Think a fictionalized account of Harriet Jacobs Life of a Slave Girl. In Price of a Child, Cary explores motherhood, slavery, and connection. I enjoyed the book and the themes it explored - particularly the way that Cary addresses classism and the divide between free blacks and former slaves.

Overall I find the book hard to put down. It's definitely an unexpepected gem.
Dec 17, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Historical novels that assume that the commonality of human experience extends to the cultural and social psychology of perception are tedious at best. It is the equivalent of a film or dialog though a costume drama of the 19th century were to suddenly show someone making a call on a cell phone.
This book became unendurable - and I did not read the last 50-75 pages. Skimmed to find with terrible disappointment, Bennie's final fate.
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African-American ...: The Price of a Child: A Novel -- March 1 - March 31 32 37 Apr 17, 2015 01:05PM  
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Lorene Cary (born 1956, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American author, educator, and social activist.

Cary grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1972, she was invited to the elite St. Paul's boarding school in New Hampshire, on scholarship, entering in St. Paul's second year of co-education as one of the less than ten African-American female students. She spe
More about Lorene Cary...

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