Rated of 5
by vam (San Antono, Texas)
The House Girl by Conklin
My review is based on the soft back edition of this book which I received free from the publisher as an "Advance Readers Edition" in exchange for the promise that I would write a review.
Unlike many books where it takes several chapters before you are drawn into the story, I was immediately captivated by this book. The primary message in the book for me was the comparison between the hopes and dreams of two girls. One was a modern day smart young white female lawyer raised by a single father who thought she knew who she was and what she wanted but found that true satisfaction laid elsewhere. The other girl was a young gifted black girl raised as a "thing" on a Virginia plantation who had never been beyond the gates of the Virginia plantation but had an inner desire to be "free" even while having no concept of what being free would actually consist of. Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, these two women had much in common.
There were a multitude of the examples of how horribly the slaves were treated during those days – I thank God that this era of slavery is behind us. There were also hints at the various ways people of today are actually enslaved by controlling things and people. In addition, the novel explored the pros and cons of the question of whether we Americans in 2012 still owe the black people "back pay" for the contributions made by their forefathers in building this great country we all live in.
The two primary characters were very well developed and I could relate to both of them. Unfortunately, I never was able to dive into the mind of some members of the supporting cast. For instance, it would have been interesting to know what really drove the plantation owner. I concluded that a series of failures had made him a bitter and brutal person and I think his reactions were sadly true to life when our dreams fall apart, but I wished I had been able to explore some of his mental processes.
The book was an easy read with a somewhat simple plot but hidden within the tapestry of the plot are several diverse threads that provide insights into the different ways that we humans are wired by God to live and think.