THE FREEDOM MAZE by Delia Sherman
Kirkus Star

THE FREEDOM MAZE

Age Range: 12 & up
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

It’s 1960, but on the decayed Fairchild sugar plantation in rural Louisiana, vestiges of a grimmer past remain—the old cottage, overgrown garden maze, relations between white and black races.

Stuck for the summer in the family ancestral home under the thumb of her cranky, imperious grandmother, Sophie, 13, makes a reckless wish that lands her in 1860, enslaved—by her own ancestors. Sophie’s fair skin and marked resemblance to the Fairchilds earn her “easy” employment in the big house and the resentment of her peers, whose loyalty she’ll need to survive. Plantation life for whites and blacks unfolds in compelling, often excruciating detail. A departure from Sherman’s light fantasy Changeling (2006), this is a powerfully unsettling, intertextual take on historical time-travel fantasy, especially Edward Eager’s Time Garden (1958), in which white children help a grateful enslaved family to freedom. Sophie’s problems aren’t that easily resolved: While acknowledging their shared kinship, her white ancestors refuse to see her as equally human. The framing of Sophie’s adventures within 1960 social realities prompts readers to consider what has changed since 1860, what has not—for Sophie and for readers half a century later—and at what cost.

Multilayered, compassionate and thought-provoking, a timely read on the sesquicentennial of America’s Civil War. (Historical fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-931520-30-0
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Big Mouth House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2011




2011 BEST BOOKS FOR CHILDREN: ADRENALINE RUSHES:

ChildrenZITA THE SPACEGIRL by Ben Hatke
by Ben Hatke
ChildrenAROUND THE WORLD by Matt Phelan
by Matt Phelan
ChildrenWONDERSTRUCK by Brian Selznick
by Brian Selznick
ChildrenCITY OF ORPHANS by Avi
by Avi
ChildrenTHE CHESHIRE CHEESE CAT by Carmen Agra Deedy
by Carmen Agra Deedy

MORE BY DELIA SHERMAN

ChildrenTHE EVIL WIZARD SMALLBONE by Delia Sherman
by Delia Sherman
ChildrenTHE MAGIC MIRROR OF THE MERMAID QUEEN by Delia Sherman
by Delia Sherman

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenTHE TRUTH ABOUT MARTIANS by Melissa Savage
by Melissa Savage
ChildrenCAUSE by Tonya Bolden
by Tonya Bolden
ChildrenTHE LAND by Mildred D. Taylor
by Mildred D. Taylor