Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review: Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates

Synopsis: "It does a man no good to be free until he learns how to live." These were the words of Amos Fortune, born the son of a king in the At-mun-shi tribe in Africa. When Amos was only fifteen years old, he was captured by slave traders and brought to Masachusetts, where he was sold at auction. Although his freedom has been taken, Amos never lost his dignity and courage. He dreamed of being free, and of buying the freedom of his closest friends. By the time he was sixty years old, Amos Fortune began to see those dreams come true. (from the back of the book)

Review: While I understand the important subject matter of this book, I found it a bit naïve. Amos never suffered under his masters - in fact, most of his training and livelihood came from the benevolence of those who owned him. It's no great feat to maintain your dignity and courage when you are treated that way your entire life. I would like to see if he would have keep those if he's been shipped down south to work the tobacco and cotton fields. Yes, he was a good man who did what he could for those around him. He was someone to be admired.
As for the story, if was a bit jumbled in the beginning, jumping back and forth between time-frames. But the end shaped up nicely, less jumbly and easier to read. I would recommend this book to kids, as it's a non-traumatic introduction to slavery. But it's a light read about a serious subject and should no means be taken as the end work.

Note: Amos Fortune was a real man. You can visit his original house in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. The money he left to the Schoolhouse because the Amos Fortune Fund, and is still being used today.

Bookmarks: 7 of 10

Awards: Newbery Medal, 1951

ISBN: 0-14-034158-7
Date Finished: 3-12-2014
Pages: 181

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