My Little Pocketbooks: Review: Song Yet Sung   

Monday, January 30, 2012

Review: Song Yet Sung



Song Yet Song
Author: James McBride
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Publisher:  Riverhead (1st Edition)
Release Date:  February 5, 2008
Hardcover: 368 pages
Source:  Purchased at Esowon Bookstore
Buy the Book: Amazon 


Book Description 
Nowhere has the drama of American slavery played itself out with more tension than in the dripping swamps of Maryland's eastern shore, where abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, born less than thirty miles apart, faced off against nefarious slave traders in a catch-me-if-you-can game that fueled fear and brought economic hardship to both white and black families. Trapped in the middle were the watermen, a group of America's most original and colorful pioneers, poor oystermen who often found themselves caught between the needs of rich plantation owners and the roaring Chesapeake, which often claimed their lives.
The powerful web of relationships in a small Chesapeake Bay town collapses as two souls face off in a gripping page-turner. Liz Spocott, a young runaway who has odd dreams about the future of the colored race, mistakenly inspires a breakout from the prison attic of a notorious slave thief named Patty Cannon. As Cannon stokes revenge, Liz flees into the nefarious world of the underground railroad with its double meanings and unspoken clues to freedom known to the slaves of Dorchester County as "The Code." Denwood Long, a troubled slave catcher and eastern shore waterman, is coaxed out of retirement to break "The Code" and track down Liz.

Filled with rich history-much of the story is drawn from historical events-and told in McBride's signature lyrical storytelling style, Song Yet Sung brings into full view a world long misunderstood in American fiction: how slavery worked, and the haunting, moral choices that lived beneath the surface, pressing both whites and blacks to search for relief in a world where both seemed to lose their moral compass. This is a story of tragic triumph, violent decisions, and unexpected kindness.
 Review
I have had this book forever.  I honestly can't remember where and when I got it but more than likely I bought this book from Esowon bookstore before they moved to their current location.  That has to be more than 5 years ago!  WOW!
I have started and stopped and started again with this book.  I couldn't get into it then and had a hard time finishing now.  The overall plot of this book is good with the story taking place in pre-Civil War Maryland.  The story has elements of Harriet Tubman and the underground railroads with the codes and safe houses.  But the poetic nature of the book lost me.  As I was reading the book I want to know what was going to happen next with the Dreamer but it moved so slow I kept losing interest.  
The character known as the Dreamer was extremely interesting and I thought was the main character in this story but she never fully developed and she rarely appeared.  I would have loved to have more information and time with her in the book.  The author's notes in the back of the book were much more interesting than the book itself. I would have loved to read a novel about the making of this novel.
Recommendations
I recommend this book to adults over 18+ due to some graphic violence.
Reading Challenges
 This book is number 1 in my Dusty Bookshelf Reading Challenge
This book is number 1 in my POC Reading Challenge
This book is number 2 in my 2012 Good Reads Challenge
This book is number 2 in my 2012 TBR Reading Pile 

 Did you read this book?  What did you think of it?

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