Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Land

The Land
By Mildred Taylor
Phyllis Fogelman Books, 2001. 375 pgs. Young Adult

Paul-Edward Logan is the son of a black former slave and her former owner, a white man who raises his two illegitimate children much the same as he does his three sons by his wife. He teaches Paul and his sister to read and write, and Paul has a happy life on his father's plantation, spending time with his brothers and his books. However, as he gets older, Paul begins to realize that being part black will always make it so he won't be treated the same as the white members of the family. Although he had always dreamed of living on his father's land, of it being his someday, he realizes that there is not a place for him, so he runs away and sets out to find land of his own.

This book is a prequel to Taylor's Newbery Award winner, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, and bases this book of the experiences of her ancestors. The book provides an interesting look at the South after the Civil War, especially the racial dynamics. The book has a leisurely pace, and while it was published for the teen market, I honestly have a hard time believing it would appeal to very many teens. It's well-written, though, and Taylor is a good storyteller, so those who like historical fiction with rural settings and lovable characters will be rewarded for sticking with it.


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