Book Club

Powerful lessons from ‘Grace’


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Welcome to the third week of Book Club. I can’t believe how fast this book  — and year — is going already.

This week I wanted to focus on Naomi’s daughter, Josey, since I haven’t spoken about her too much yet. 

At the start of the story we learn Naomi gave birth to Josey while she was on the run from men who were shooting at her. The men took Josey and ended up leaving her in a field. 

A man named Charles found Josey and brought her to his slave quarters, where she then grew up with him and the family he was a slave for. 

As I mentioned last week, throughout the chapters we see Josey from Naomi’s perspective as a ghost.

The ghost aspect took me a while to figure out, until Naomi actually “steps in” a character named Annie. Annie is a woman who also lived with Josey and helped to take care of the house. 

“I stood in front of Annie as she rocked back, waited for her to rock forward again and I simply fell back onto her and waited to melt away inside,” author Natashia Deón wrote. 

At this point, Naomi was “inside” Annie and moved as Annie moved — with every breath, cough and sneeze. These scenes always captivate me because Deón wrote them so clearly. I can almost feel how Naomi feels while she does this. 

“And this heat! Her body on mine is like a boiling wet towel placed all around me,” Deón wrote.

Naomi did this because she wanted to get revenge on a character named George, Josey’s master. A couple months before Naomi “stepped in” Annie, George tried to strangle Josey with his belt.

Naomi’s plan was to practice being inside an alive person until she could control them. But, this came to a halt when a woman who lives in the house — Bessie — asked Naomi why she was there. 

Somehow Bessie knew Naomi was in Annie and warned her not to haunt the house or to try to get inside her. Bessie also admitted there are others like Naomi, and told her they all come back for the same thing — to hurt someone. 

Naomi asked for her help, but Bessie said the best thing to do is to forgive and move on. 

I believe this advice from Bessie is great and applies to a lot in life. I often feel I — and many others — get caught up in little things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things or hold grudges too long and that doesn’t do anyone any good. 

I think having this sort of double story makes the book much more dynamic and adds a lot to the story. We get to see Naomi mature as a mother and we get to see how Josey grows up.

One of my favorite lines from these chapters comes from Naomi.

“There’s no such thing as justice when somebody’s killed,” Naomi said. “Only satisfaction. The person can’t be brought back for no amount of punishment or cost.”

This is a great line because, while it’s hard to accept, it’s true — at least in my opinion. When someone is killed, there is nothing that can make it better or bring the person back. Arrests can be made and the killer can go to jail, but that person will always be gone. 

Come back next Tuesday for more updates and powerful lessons from Deón. 

Olson can be reached at [email protected]