Author: Suzanne Feldman
What a breath of fresh air to be able to read and love a novel! The past month has been bleak for dynamite reads!
Absalom’s Daughters gives a sometimes funny always poignant and heartbreaking view of Jim Crow South and pinpoints the meaning of kin for two half-sisters who could not be more different. Cassie’s grandmother made her own daughter, Cassie’s mother, bed a white man so that she could “steal” the white man’s color and improve her daughter and her granddaughter’s lives, but it has not worked out that way. Cassie is terrified her grandmother will make her do the same, get pregnant by a white man to improve the family’s skin color. Cassie and her mother and grandmother take in and do laundry and are rural poor but Cassie is smart. When she meets her half-sister, a poor white trash girl, Judith, the two realize that they look like their white father in some features. As the two teenagers realize that they will die in the small town that holds them prisoner, they decide to run away after they get a letter from their father’s family telling them that as the progeny of the family they are set to inherit. They have to appear in Virginia before a certain date to be at the will reading. Judith wants to become a radio singer in New York City and Cassie wants to be her own person, but as the two travel together and discover their sisterhood, Cassie realizes she will always be black in a South that hates her.
Throw in a little magic in a town called Porterville, and Cassie and Judith both have to face their own destinies: Cassie, who lives in reality, decides she does not want to be white nor does she want to be her sister’s “girl” for the rest of her life; she wants to be a person. Judith, who lives in imagination, forges her way to New York alone for a dream that is simply that – a dream.
Suggestive and downright wonderful, Absalom’s Daughters shows how two girls combine Thelma and Louise with a tad of Alice Hoffman and a dash of Zora Neal Thurston – with a little Faulkner for spice. Beautiful rendition of family, racial strife, the old and new South, a yarn or two, and two very compelling young girls directing their own fates in a world they have to fight through. Amazing and absorbing, you will not leave Feldman’s novel until she decides on her terms that you are ready to leave and even then you will linger in this beautiful and witty heartfelt novel.
Well, well done.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Review by Broad “A”
We received a product to facilitate our review. All opinions are our own
- You can pick up this book on Amazon.com here: Absalom’s Daughters: A Novel or at a bookseller near you.