Welcome back to the Book Club. This week I’ll give an update on what I have read so far in “Grace.” Since last week, I made it to chapter 26 and a lot has happened.
To catch you up on the story line, after Naomi killed Massa, Hazel told her to run north, where she would be free. Naomi made it to Coyners, Georgia, where she was found in the woods sick and beaten up after running for days.
Naomi now lives with Cynthia, a woman who owns a brothel near the location where she was previously found.
Cynthia and Naomi have an interesting relationship. At times they are friendly to each other and seem to have a mother-daughter relationship, but at other times, Cynthia is very irrational and impatient with Naomi.
One of my favorite moments between the two occurred when Cynthia showed Naomi the basement of the brothel where they could see everyone above them, but no one could see them.
“Cynthia says, ‘I bet if they blew out the candles upstairs, they’d be scared if they looked down and saw us spooks staring up at ‘em from under the floor,” Naomi said. “I laughed a little.”
This is the first time Naomi and Cynthia are together as friends and Naomi isn’t under Cynthia’s rule. I think it shows their special bond and is the first time Naomi feels close to Cynthia.
As mentioned last week, I enjoy Deón’s writing style in this book. At times it feels like poetry. One of my favorite parts of the book this week is on page 197, when Naomi recalls when she lost her virginity.
“I did what I wanted. Those are my choices. My body. No longer a slave,” Naomi said.
This was clearly an important moment for Naomi. She felt free when she could finally make a decision on her own. However, later this causes an argument between her and Cynthia.
Cynthia often praises Naomi for being so pure and wants her to stay that way. Cynthia believes Naomi could have saved them both if she would have remained a virgin.
Naomi expresses her feelings to us. She believes she can’t live Cynthia’s life for her, and she can’t save Cynthia no matter what she does.
“Cain’t nobody save another person that way,” Naomi said. “But we have to choose for ourselves and our sacrifices are our own to make.”
I definitely agree with Naomi here and I think it’s unfair for Cynthia to be so upset with Naomi. Naomi’s life choices won’t affect Cynthia’s life path in the way she thinks it will.
Throughout these chapters of the book we also learn Naomi is a ghost and is recounting her days alive in 1847 during her time in Georgia.
Every chapter the book switches from Naomi’s past life in 1847 to the present year, 1864, where she watches her daughter Josey’s life in Tallassee, Alabama.
And that’s where I left off. Check back in next Tuesday for more updates.
Olson can be reached at [email protected].