The Healing

The Healing: A Novel

by Jonathan O'Dell

Brenda Horne (06/20/12): I devoured this book! It's a wonderful, multi-layered story of generations of slaves in pre-Civil War Mississippi. There are repeated flashbacks by a ninety-year-old midwife, who endured the brutality of plantation life while being mentored by a wonderful, mystical healer, that weave a spell-binding story to keep you turning the pages. It's a story of endurance, love, support, betrayal, and strength among just a few themes in the book. Kudos to the author, a man, who wrote a spell-binding story from the perspective of his female characters. How did he do that?
Rating: *****

Dale Israel (04/22/12): I'm a sucker for historical fiction and Jonathan O'Dell's The Healing: A Novel did not disappoint. Taking place on a Mississippi plantation in the years prior to the Civil War, Granada, a young slave girl, was removed from her comfortable job as a house servant to become Polly Shine's apprentice. Polly is a spunky black folk healer revered by some and accused by others as conjuring voodoo. This book has a lot of soul. Polly's lyrical way of preaching life's lessons made me want to write down all her pearls of wisdom to be savored again and again. Polly was the character who sparkled in this book but my heart was captured by Granada who uses flashbacks to narrate the story. I really, really loved this book...it engaged me from the beginning. Learning at the end of the book that the author was ! not Black made the story even more amazing. The only reason I didn't give it a "5" rating is because it didn't quite measure up to some of the classics but I still highly recommend it. I would love to get others opinions on this book, especially the Black perspective.
Rating: ****

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