Google Alerts drew my attention to a fantastic YA blog run by two feminists: Slatebreakers. They take their name from that memorable scene where Anne (of Green Gables) cracks her slate over Gilbert’s head for teasing her about being a redhead. They just posted a brilliant review of Wish. I love feminist readers!
Elliot does a tremendous job of creating multifaceted characters and really showing the reader their range of responses to the horrors and inequities of slavery and war. Her representations of the societal systems of oppression in 1863 demonstrate a direct link to those same systems in 2000 (without having to spell it out in capital letters for the reader).
I couldn’t stop thinking about this book after I finished it. We see the obvious danger Genna faces as a young black woman in 1863, but we’re also plenty aware of the danger her race and gender put her in in the present day at well. As the best writers do, Elliot makes a compelling and thought-provoking statement about race, gender and class, getting her reader to think on a large scale about these systems of oppression, through an utterly believable, compelling and dynamic character.
You should also check out Niranjana’s review of Dear Baobab, a new picture book by African Canadian author Cheryl Foggo. So far I’ve only found TWO children’s books by black authors published in Canada this year, so do show some love to this author and the feminist press that published her.