“The House Girl” – Tara Conklin (20/52 books challenge)

The house girl

Subject of black people fighting for their rights never bores me. Maybe it should, cause a lot of books/movies were done about it, but somehow it doesn’t. Social injustice always gets to my hearts, I guess. So when I heard about this book, I didn’t think twice. I borrowed, I started reading.

There are two stories; one is about Josephine, a young slave who is planning to escape, the other is about Lina, a young lawyer, who is working on a case about compensation for slavery, and in her search she stumbles upon Josephine’s name. One is during the times of slavery, the other is during the present. They are told interchangeably, presenting us with two viewpoints and dual narration.

First of all, I completed this book solely because of the story. I was interested what would happen later, and that is the only thing that kept me reading. Because, generally, there were moments I wanted to give up and throw this book away. I think this could have been done so much better. And here’s why.

I am a fucking crier. I cry during reading books, watching movies or even trailers. Sometimes I cry during listening to songs. Seriously, anything can get me going.

Not this book, though.

The novel it was really sad and depressing. It touched a lot of difficult subjects, and those I feel close to (i.e. social injustice). However, not a single tear. I am not sure how novel about such important and sad events could be written so emotionless. Yeah, I know, too much emotions makes a book silly, but this one felt as it I was reading a report. Written by a robot.

Maybe I exaggerated a little, but the truth is neither Lina not Josephine did much for me. I didn’t feel any of the characters, either, as if they were made of paper. They didn’t seem real for me, and to make me personally read a book, I need to feel close to the characters. This time I didn’t, though I really tried.

But maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, another thing that I didn’t like what that the description of Josephine’s day seemed endless, and then suddenly everything’s explained in a couple of letters. A similar thing can be said about Lina’s part – too much description, too little action, and at the end a fast and somehow unsatisfying ending.

But, as I said, maybe it’s just me. But I truly believe there are better books about the subject than “The House Girl.”

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