Book Club

My recommendation for the month and an update on ‘Grace’


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Welcome to my book club! Each month I will give a recommendation of a past book I’ve read, while each week, I will update about the book I am currently reading. 

I encourage all to join me at home, if possible. It is a great way to get back into reading if you have lost it over the years — like I have. 

For the month of September I will update you on “Grace” by Natashia Deón. This book is about 15-year-old Naomi, who escaped life on an Alabama plantation and ends up living in a brothel in Georgia. 

I felt that this was an important story to read with all of the current injustices happening around the U.S. — injustices that have been occurring for centuries. I’ve made it to chapter 13 and have already learned a lot about slave life. 

The story starts in 1838 in Faunsdale, Alabama. There, Naomi lived with her mother and sister, Hazel. They were slaves owned by a master, who they called Massa. Naomi’s mother and sister kept her a secret so she wouldn’t have to suffer as much as they do. 

The story continues to tell us about their life under Massa until he one day came into their house to tell Hazel he’s upset their mother hadn’t given birth to any boys. He insinuated that he wants Hazel to start having children with another slave — Boss — to try to get a boy.

Naomi and her mom watched all of this from another room until Naomi’s mother burst out of the room to save Hazel from being raped. Naomi then ran out of the room and tried to save her mom. Through all of this, Naomi ended up attacking Massa and killing him.

These first couple of chapters were difficult to read at times. Reading about Naomi’s pain and to know real people went through this at one time was hard to grasp. Deón writes in a way that allows me to feel the emotions of Naomi, whether she’s scared, hurt or frustrated, which I enjoy in books. 

For my recommendation of the month, I chose “The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain.This book focuses on Ernest Hemmingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson. It follows the two and their life together from the start. 

Hadley is originally from St. Louis, Missouri and visits Chicago to see her friends Kate and Kenley. This is where Hadley met Ernest and was instantly drawn to him. After spending two weeks in Chicago with Ernest, Hadley went back home.

After writing to each other for a couple of months, Ernest asked her to marry him and move to Paris. Hadley eagerly said “Yes,” and from there, their journey began.

It is a very romantic story and shows the many ups and downs of their marriage. I definitely recommend it if you like romance and being swallowed up by a story for hours. 

That is all I have for this week. Come back next Tuesday for more updates. 

Olson can be reached at [email protected]