Pheby is a mulatto–the daughter of a slave and a rich plantation owner. She’s a slave on the same plantation, but her father has promised her freedom on her eighteenth birthday.
Unfortunately, things happen and Pheby never receives the freedom that was promised to her.
Instead, she ends up a slave at a slave jail in Richmond, Virginia. This place, called the Devil’s Half-Acre, is a place where Pheby will have to struggle with both her master’s kindness and his cruelty.
I noticed . . .
I noticed that there are no good choices for Pheby. Everything is a choice of the lesser of two evils where she has to decide what is going to bother her conscience the least.
I noticed that every time we think Pheby’s getting ahead, she’s jerked down again.
I also noticed that this story, although not true, is based on a strong, solid dose of historical research.
I wondered . . .
I wondered about the actual historical events. I wondered what accounts the author had read as well. She does list a few books in the author’s note, but the list is a little intense, so I haven’t spent much time with it.
I also wondered about Pheby’s life, and what it was like after the events in the book.
It reminded me of . . .
I was reminded of the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It’s been over twenty years since I read it though, so the details are a little fuzzy.
I was also reminded of the movie Harriet and a book about Harriet Tubman that I read the my kids. Pheby never escapes, but there are a lot of escapes and escape plans in the book, and so I thought of that movie.