Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Name is Phillis Wheatley

My Name is Phillis Wheatley: A Story of Slavery and Freedom. Afua Cooper. 2009. Kids Can Press. 152 pages.

The green silk gown does me well, likewise the white bonnet. My mistress had insisted that I dress plainly.

A fictional account (I'm assuming) of the life of poet Phillis Wheatley. Covering her childhood through her death, it tells the bittersweet story of a slave girl whose poems were published. It tells of her struggles and heartaches. Too "genius" to mix with the slaves, too "inferior" to mix with the whites, her life definitely knew of loneliness. Even though her master and mistress were kind (relatively speaking) never for a minute does the reader get the idea, the impression, that being a slave was a good thing. (She was freed after her book was published, by the way).

I found this one to be emotional and powerful in places. The description of her crossing is especially moving.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

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