Freeman by Leonard Pitts Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved this book.
What do you do when you learn you are free for the first time in your life? The Civil War has ended and Leonard Pitts' cast of characters find themselves in different circumstances. For Sam it means leaving the safety of Philadelphia where he as lived several years as a Freeman, educated, and with a job, to set out for Mississippi to find his wife whom he hasn't seen in fifteen years.
For Ben it means finding his wife and daughter. Other nameless people wander through the story looking for a lost husband or child. Prudence, a wealthy white widow, sets off from Boston to build a school in Mississippi (of all places) for newly freed blacks.
I prepared myself for the blood and violence once Sam left Philadelphia. After having waded through Isabel Wilkerson's Warmth of Other Suns last year, when I had to close the book several times because the lynchings were non-fiction, and especially because it happened during my lifetime, maybe I was able to steel myself for Sam's journey through Mississippi.
Pitts' writing has an ease about it, beautifully simple. I counted dozens of different ways his characters smiled, until we reached the middle of the story where there was little to smile about.
I loved the characters so much, when I finished the book they were still on my mind and in my heart.
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