Amy’s Marathon of Books on Chasing Freedom

From Barbara Smucker’s Underground to Canada to Lawerence Hill’s The Book of Negroes, Gloria Ann Wesley’s Chasing Freedom bridges the gap in literature about slavery in the late 1700s for teens. It lies closer to Hill’s work than Smucker’s though.

This is a piece of historical fiction that’s more of a challenging read. Wesley explores the story of an entire family affected by slavery, from the grandmother Lydia to her grandchildren Sarah and Prince. In the end it kind of turned into a social justice piece about a young woman who dares to follow her dreams, and I felt the focus of the book was lost a bit.

There’s no denying though that Wesley is a talented writer. Her exploration of the concept of freedom is thought-provoking and insightful. I had to whittle down my list of memorable quotes because I had so many.

I’d recommend it for older teen readers, and probably for a school curriculum type setting. Chasing Freedom is a book adults will enjoy as well though.

–February 2014

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