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Reading the Bricks

There are books and bricks and books that could easily function as bricks. Also published at: http://readingthebricks.blogspot.com/

Currently reading

Gone with the Wind
Margaret Mitchell
The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas, ALEXANDER DUMAS, Alexander Dumas Pere

The Loom

The Loom - Shella Gillus Hmpf. This book sidelined me with religion, and I wasn't super-pleased about it. I wouldn't have minded if the story weren't completely contrived; I know there are stories about black slaves "passing" as whites pre-Civil War (and also later, but that's not what's going on in this book), and I don't doubt that it happened. But those people would have had to think much more carefully about what they were about than Gillus did for her characters, and instead of emphasizing the bravery of those people for breaking barriers, the author only had me cringing for the naivety of the people she invented.So. Lydia is so white that her BFF, Lizzy, is the daughter of the plantation, which is HIGHLY PROBABLE, especially given that the Master prefers to have sex with his slaves rather than his wife, but feels horribly guilty over it. This doesn't generally bode well for treatment of slaves on a plantation, I would imagine, but in this case it's okay? Then John, a strapping slave over whom all the other slave women are salivating, shows up and sees directly into Lydia's heart, which of course longs for freedom above all things and he doesn't care what color she is (??). They fall in love and get married, but not before Lizzy convinces Lydia to come "pass" at a fancy white people's party not very far down the road. Lydia is admired by the white mens and gets a taste of what she sees as freedom.Anyway. John and Lydia "marry," as actual marriage between slaves is illegal. Then there's a misunderstanding and Lydia runs away and somehow passes as a privileged white woman in the house of the man whose house she partied in earlier. What the what?!? And then he wants to marry her, but something isn't right and her story isn't adding up and by the way he hateshateshates Negros. And THEN John gets sold to the same plantation, and Lydia realizes he is her one true love and also her husband (convenient, that...), and that she can't marry Jackson, the alcoholic Negro-hater.And here is where it all fell apart for me: there's a scene in which Lydia and John are walking together just off the plantation grounds, and they get accosted by some white overseers. Joh is immediately accused of "walking with a white woman," which is grounds for hanging in the South. They run away, but wait a second. If John is as velvety black as the night sky, with teeth like stars in his smile (I paraphrase, but not much), then how is this relationship going to continue when they are free?!? They are going to look an awful lot like a negative of the Lovings, who lived over a hundred years later. Basically, John is screwed because Lydia looks like a white woman. Forever.But is this fear dealt with? Not even a little bit. Does the experience with the white overseers throw Lydia even a little bit to think, "uh-oh, here is a wrinkle we haven't considered!" Nope. They run off into the sunset - after Jackson dies in a house fire (because he is the DEVIL, get it?) - with their freedom papers and not a backward glance or, apparently, a future thought.This frustrated me beyond measure. Plus, I thought this book would be about the pregnant or elderly women who wove cloth in the Loom Rooms of the Old South, which it most vehemently was not. BOO. And while I obviously wasn't there and haven't done a huge amount of research on the subject, I highly doubt that even a house slave could have passed as white only a few miles down the road from where she was born and raised as a slave. Three of Eleven Yellows.