Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February Mother/Daughter Book Club -- Washington City is Burning


Washington City Is Burning

Book: Washington City is Burning by Harriette Gillem Robinet


My rating: 2 out of 5 stars


Daisy Daughter rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I suggested this book as something we could read for Black History month -- from the dust jacked it seemed to have a nice blend of historical facts surrounding the British invasion of Washington DC during the war of 1812, the role slaves played in maintaining the White House and a fictional story involving a 12 year old slave, Virginia of Madison, who is brought from President Madison's plantation, Montpelier, to serve her master, and his wife, Dolley.

I cringed the entire time I read this...I thought is was overly repetivite (how many times was the author going to mention "Washington City"),  and that it really sugar-coated the plight of slaves.  This was one of my LEAST favorite books we've read as a group, and I was ready for the girls to complain vocally at how much they hated it.

Once again, I totally misjudged them -- they loved it!  And I have to mention that one of our girls, probably the most advanced reader in our group, and who is VERY particular about her literature, LOVED it too.  They really empathized with Virginia and her bondage.  One of the most memorable scenes, and one the girls mentioned over and over during the discussion, was when Virginia sits on a hot cooking pot, to keep her overseerers from realizing they are cooking a stew, something they were forbidden to do.  She is burned so severly by this act, that she suffers terrible scarring on the backs of her legs. 

This was also one of the most "serious" discussions.  The girls can get rather silly during our meetings, but this one stayed on focus and topic.  I was very proud of them.

So, another successful book group night.

For March, we are reading:


Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot"
This will be our first non-fiction book.  We've gone from the War of 1812 to World War II.  Both Daisy daughter and I read it early this year and loved it.    Hoping the other girls do too.