Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Book Review: Leaving Gee's Bend

Book cover"Mama always said every quilt tells a story. Every piece of cloth, every stitch and every bit of cotton stuffed between the seams tells a secret about the one who made the quilt." ~Ludelphia Bennett

Leaving Gee's Bend, by Alabama author Irene Latham, is a touching tale, set in 1932, of Ludelphia Bennett, a young girl who lives in the small African-American sharecropping community of Gee's Bend, Alabama. The community of Gee's Bend is filled with strength, dignity and spirit. Some residents believe in superstitions and some even believe that witches live in Gee's Bend.

Ludelphia is blind in one eye but discovers that she can completely forget about the world when she quilts. In fact, wherever she goes, she sees colors and fabrics that she can use in quilts.

Her mother is very sick so Ludelphia decides to travel forty miles from Gee's Bend to a community for a doctor's help. During her travels, she finds that life is completely different from life in the isolated Gee's Bend community. She rides in a car for the first time, drinks soda pop and meets different people.

Ludelphia learns that faith, love and determination can allow you to accomplish more than you think. I enjoyed reading this novel because of Ludelphia's spirit and her love of family and community. You will learn some interesting history about life in Gee's Bend.

Today, Gee's Bend is home to approximately 750 people that are descendants of African-American slaves. The quilt makers of Gee's Bend demonstrate the beauty and strong cultural heritage of this community. These quilts not only are beautiful in design, color and pattern, but tell the quiltmaker's personal story. They have received national attention and critical acclaim. (Book review by Leslie Deason.)

To reserve a copy visit the JCLC Encore catalog.

Irene Latham will be at the Central Library on March 9 to talk about the challenges of writing Leaving Gee's Bend and to sign copies of her book.

To learn more about Gee's Bend, Alabama please take a look at the following resources. You will need a JCLC Library Card to access the databases.

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