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To help her granddaughter accept the risks of loving Sadie Watson mines her memory for the tale of the unuenchable love of her life Jim Sadie’s Jim was an ambitious young slave and seer who when faced with the prospect of being sold escaped down the Mississippi with a white boy named Huck Finn Sadie is suddenly left alone worried about her children reviled as a witch punished for Jim’s escape and convinced her husband is dead But Sadie’s will and her love for Jim animate her life and see her throughTold with spare elouence and mirroring the true stories of countless slave women My Jim recreates one of the most controversial characters in American literature A nuanced critiue of the great American novel My Jim is a haunting and inspiring story about freedom longing and the remarkable endurance of loveLook for the Reader’s Group Guide at the back of this book

10 thoughts on “My Jim

  1. says:

    Despite the title this book isn't really about Jim the runaway slave from Mark Twain's classic Adventures of Huckleberry Finn The narrator Sadie Watson is Jim's wife and while she recounts the story of their courtship marriage and separation the book is really about the inhumanity of slavery and its cruel impact on black American families before during and after the Civil War While I applaud Rawles' effort to place Jim and Sadie's stories in a broader historically accurate context and her ability to fully humanize them something Twain could not although his portrait of Jim is nuanced and positive than some critics may believe I didn't find this book as compelling or well written as other novels that portray slavery from the slave's perspective Beloved Kindred and The Known World are all in my opinion superior works of fiction Go read them first if you haven't already

  2. says:

    This book is such a brutal grinding portrayal of American slavery Nothing in tone or plot connected it to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for me it's framed as a preuel other than it was a very contemporary and lucid look at slavery I came to this book euating American slavery with hard work in the hot sun accompanied by whippings I left euating American slavery with the systemic rape of women and children violent theft of small children from their mothers routine murder and white men so filled with racist rage that they would abandon their own sons and daughters to the same incomprehensible horrors

  3. says:

    Here is a way to destroy your faith in humanityfirst read a book about WWII and the Nazi occupation and then read one about slavery in the US Nice This was a beautifully written book accounting the life of the wife of Huckleberry Finn's Jim The writing style is as if her slightly educated granddaughter is writing the novel so it takes a bit of getting used to very little punctuation misspelled words slang etc but it really pulls you into the time period I guess even though it is hard to read the lesson from both books is that love lives on humanity survives goodness can be found even in the darkest of times and places the wheel keeps turning which are always good things to be reminded

  4. says:

    Incredibly satisfying book This is a must read for those who love The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and for people interested in learning about the horrors inflicted upon American slaves I put it in a league with Twelve Years a Slave a book that I think was better than the movie

  5. says:

    I saw this book being the Seattle Reads selection and got it from my local library to read It's a very honest story about survival and the power of love Sadie the narrator of the book has some very simple things from her history that she managed to hold on to that she uses to tell her granddaughter her experiences in trying to help her with a difficult decision It's powerful how the author uses something as simple as a piece of a wooden bowl to not only carry so much history but also give Sadie the will to keep going when faced with such horrifying experiences Despite the title's reference to Jim the character in Mark Twain's Huck Finn who becomes Sadie's husband the book to me is about Sadie It's her voice that carries us through the book but it's the bond she has with Jim that helps carries her through everything life throws at her Near the end of the book Sadie says Only ones free the spirits very powerful words for all of us

  6. says:

    Jim of the title is based on the character of Jim from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn My Jim is actually the life story of Jim’s wife Sadie as told to her granddaughter in the early post slavery years As both a reader and an aspiring writer I gained a great deal of respect and admiration for Nancy Rawles as I read her beautifully crafted and meticulously researched third novel I was reminded of the great power of historical fiction as I cried through the last 15 pages of the book It really rekindled my love of this genre I was wow ed as well by Rawles’ pages long acknowledgements section in which she thanks the “spirits angels scholars and artists” who helped her to write My Jim I can't wait for the opportunity to meet her May 20 23 during the 2009 Seattle Reads events

  7. says:

    I read this as part of 'Seattle Reads' sponsored by the public library The book is narrative with the accent of the story teller strongly presented This may put some off I found the effect a little distracting until I adjusted to itThe story line is great What happened to those whom Jim loved when he lit out with Huck? What is their story?What is the story of sundered love and deep loss for a people as experienced through the eyes of a young woman who lives the massive change that takes place from a chilhood of brutal slavery to a granddaughters freedomHow does wisdom derive from pain? How is love lasting in torment? I think this book is an excellent complement to Huck and Tom because it is a story that you can feel without a pretense of being a Classic Bravely written and strongly evocative

  8. says:

    Although Mark Twain never mentioned Jim's wife by name in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn award winning playwright and novelist Rawles gives Sadie a tale as heart wrenching a personal history as any recorded in American literature New York Times Here the subtext of slavery that lingers behind Twain's classic is given full due and it is appalling in its near unspeakable details about slave life Critics were universally moved by Sadie's short story and praise the author's pitch perfect tribute to Twain's original Jim It makes a great supplement to high school reading listsThis is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine

  9. says:

    Writing 3Story 3Satisfaction 2Maybe not the best book to pick up after The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn With the world immersive dialogue of Mark Twain still lingering Rawles's My Jim feels inauthentic and almost sterile in comparison Knowing that her dialogue was going to be compared to that of Twain I can't help but wonder why Rawles chooses to have her characters speak is a less slang heavy wayMy Jim is conceptually interesting but it honestly could have been about any other individual during this time period and I feel like having it tied to Huck Finn's Jim was almost a cheat for the author in that they hinted and mentioned but didn't really bother to flesh out the connecting ties Oh well

  10. says:

    Wow This book is written in a prose that aims to take its reader back to the days just after slavery It is beautiful and without even knowing it found myself near tears at the lushness and heartbreak that the author invokes in the telling of a love story that is wrapped in a slave narrative It is the untold story of Jim the charater from Huckleberry Finn While in that book Jim seems only there to serve the interests and world view of Huck this book brings Jim and the wife and family that are ripped from him into full and aching reliefWonderful fast reading and tender in its understanding of loss love and how history play a role in it all