Yellow Crocus … a review

I picked up this book coincidentally at the same time as the BLM protests kicked off worldwide. Just as well, it added to my quest of trying to understand the black experience more deeply. This book is about the bond between a white girl, and her black nanny. Being brought up in a privileged land and slave-owning family in 1800s Virginia, Lisbeth is unduly attached to her nurse Mattie.

The family of slaves lives on their estate and so Lisbeth has the opportunity to interact with them quite closely. Over time the girl begins to see that these people are not so different to her after all. And they have the same hopes, dreams, fears and aspirations for themselves and their family. What I thought interesting was that the author herself is white, but she does portray the life of black slaves very well. Perhaps this is because she is part of a non-visible minority as well. Through her own personal experiences, she can channel the discrimination faced regularly by those perceived by the majority as ‘the other.’

As Lisbeth approaches her late teens and is encouraged to make herself attractive to a potential suitor, her own moral compass comes in the way of her decision. What will Lisbeth do? Will Mattie ever find the freedom she seeks for her family? What will happen a result of the Abolishionist movement? A fine book, not too hard going, and a toe-dipping exercise into understanding the contibution of slaves to the building of the so-called greatest nation in the world.

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