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The Healing    by Jonathan Odell order for
by Jonathan Odell
Order:  USA  Can
Anchor, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

White novelists, especially those writing about the South, rarely write from the black perspective. Understandably so, for who really can presume to know what the other's experience was, especially across a divide that has always been so large. Author Odell attempts to cross that divide in The Healing, and his very interesting note at the end of the book tells how this came to be.

Healer Polly Shine is brought to the Satterfield plantation, and along with her herbs and potions she brings a fresh perspective on freedom. Her young pupil, Granada, wrenched unwillingly from service in the 'big house,' misunderstands everything and keeps running away from all that Polly has to offer. As time passes, not only Granada but the rest of the slave population learn how clever Polly is just because she is afraid of no one and nothing.

Though the ending seems a bit idealistic, there is much to learn here. Black medicine was sought by all, especially when white medicine didn't work. But healing is an art, and while Odell's Polly is trying to teach Granada, we are getting a lesson on the power of our ancestors' stories to tell us who we are and what freedom really is for us. The Healing shares at least one of these stories.

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