Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Good Fortune by Noni Carter
Carter, Noni. Good Fortune, 470 pgs. Simon & Schuster, 2010.
Ratings : PG-13 for violence (whippings and other brutalities against African-Americans; rape is mentioned and feared, but never shown nor described) ; G for sexual content and language.
A young teenager now known as Sarah is a slave on a plantation in Tennessee. Relived through dreams, Sarah recalls snippets of what her life was like before being captured in Africa as a four-year-old, and how she ended up as a slave, memories too painful to recall while awake. When her "mom" arranges for her to start working in the house, she gains an opportunity to secretly learn along with the owners' children but also gets noticed by the plantation's heir, whose dishonorable intentions soon become unbearably clear to her. On the eve of running for her freedom, the young man she loves is savagely whipped for dancing with her, and Sarah is forced to leave without him. She eventually makes it to Ohio with her "brother" where she changes her name to Anna and finds work in a free black society. However, freedom is not as free as she imagined, and she still must struggle against prejudices and violence to gain an education and secure her own good fortune and freedom. Noni's passion for her subject is evident in the multitude of circumstances her protagonist finds herself in during this Pre-Civil War period, as well as in the informative Facts and Fiction notes she includes at the end. Readers will witness quite a few events true to this period of history. However, the story would have been twice as powerful if it could have been half as long. Carter's main character moves too often from one to another slavery circumstance to work well as one story.
MS, HS : OPTIONAL. Reviewed by P.K. Foster, MS teacher-librarian.