Tag Archives: non-fiction

Issa Review: Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar

37 Ink
Published Feb 7th, 2017
253 Pages

When George Washington was elected president, he reluctantly left behind his beloved Mount Vernon to serve in Philadelphia, the temporary seat of the nation’s capital, after a brief stay in New York. In setting up his household he took Tobias Lear, his celebrated secretary, and nine slaves, including Ona Judge, about which little has been written. As he grew accustomed to Northern ways, there was one change he couldn’t get his arms around: Pennsylvania law required enslaved people be set free after six months of residency in the state. Rather than comply, Washington decided to circumvent the law. Every six months he sent the slaves back down south just as the clock was about to expire.

Though Ona Judge lived a life of relative comfort, the few pleasantries she was afforded were nothing compared to freedom, a glimpse of which she encountered first-hand in Philadelphia. So, when the opportunity presented itself one clear and pleasant spring day in Philadelphia, Judge left everything she knew to escape to New England. Yet freedom would not come without its costs.

At just twenty-two-years-old, Ona became the subject of an intense manhunt led by George Washington, who used his political and personal contacts to recapture his property.- Goodreads

I have never heard of Ona before of this book and normally I won’t pick up non-fiction reads (I prefer using reading as an escape not something that can piss me off) but I picked this book up because I have never heard of her.

This book was short read but it packed so much information; not only about Ona but also about her family, the Washington, other slaves and Philadelphia. Let me first start off by saying that I loved the fact that this was a short read and it did not have a lot of unnecessary fluff key word unnecessary i.e. the author describing what Ona was feeling. Yes, some of that is there but the author doesn’t assume everything Ona is feeling but it isn’t used as much as a filler but used to provide some form of insight. The author doesn’t rely on emotions but delivers facts and ask possible questions.

Remember how I mentioned fluff? Well there is a lot of fluff. As informative as this book is it was clear that there wasn’t a whole lot of information available on Ona. Was there a chunk of information that gave you a beginning and a end to her life? Yes, there was; It comes full circle. But with all the other information, it was fluff. For instance, the Washington’s head chef, Hercules, has a a good part within in the novel as well as the history of Philadelphia. Although all of this information completes the book, it was fillers for the lack of full details on Ona.

My biggest issue with this book is yes Ona was never caught but it wasn’t because of her constantly running or them even constantly looking for her. Don’t get me wrong they tried but not exactly where your mind goes.

However, I highly recommend this book because it is a starting point to a bigger conversation and it can lead you to other books not just by this author. For instance. this book led me to The President’s Kitchen Cabinet written by Adrian Miller. Ona’s story isn’t typical by any means but its a piece of history everyone should know about. The woman, the slave strong enough to run away from the first President of the United States. . . that is a huge deal.

Overall, not only a must read but something you should have in your book collection.

5 Pickles

Book Review: How I Resist: Activism and Hope for the Next Generation

Wednesday Books
TBP March 1st, 2018
320 Pages

Now, more than ever, young people are motivated to make a difference in a world they’re bound to inherit. They’re ready to stand up and be heard – but with much to shout about, where they do they begin? What can I do? How can I help?

How I Resist is the response, and a way to start the conversation. To show readers that they are not helpless, and that anyone can be the change. A collection of essays, songs, illustrations, and interviews about activism and hope, How I Resist features an all-star group of contributors, including, John Paul Brammer, Libba Bray, Lauren Duca, Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband Justin Mikita, Alex Gino, Hebh Jamal, Malinda Lo, Dylan Marron, Hamilton star Javier Muñoz, Rosie O’Donnell, Junauda Petrus, Jodi Picoult, Jason Reynolds, Karuna Riazi, Maya Rupert, Dana Schwartz, Dan Sinker, Ali Stroker, Jonny Sun (aka @jonnysun), Sabaa Tahir, Daniel Watts, Jennifer Weiner, Jacqueline Woodson, and more, all edited and compiled by New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson and Lambda-winning novelist Tim Federle. -Goodreads

I’m not exactly sure what I was expecting when I began this book. Nevermind that is not true. What I was expecting was fictional short stories about ways the author either sees themselves or the current political situation and how they resist.

What I got was non-fiction, personal stories authors shared to show how they resist and how you should resist. This is not a bad thing. It is simply what I was not expecting.

When reading this, you can feel the emotion each other put into their piece. It is an inspiring read but most importantly it is full of questions. Questions of not only how do I resist but questions of what exactly am I resisting. Before the internet decides to eat me up, let me explain.

Not everyone’s fight is the same nor do each person resist in the same way. What is great about this read is that the different point of views, the different methods, the different experiences are noted and highlighted without overshadowing someone else. A particular author, that I felt most connected to was Rebecca Roanhorse. Her story was realistic in the sense that it beings up the question are you doing enough or anything at all? Her story really brought everything together for me.

Another point about this book, are the interviews. Not all authors wrote short stories but instead gave an interview. I liked this mix up. It made the readings more personal and it built questions and sparked ideas and thoughts.

There is nothing to say bad about this read. It is perfect for a classroom setting and it is honest. Even when a particular author made me side eye her (I am not stating who), you had to respect the honesty that came from her and every other writer. It is important and I know I keep saying this but this leads to conversations that needs to be had. Because like it or not this current presidency affects everyone.

3 Pickles