A WILLIAMSBURG HOUSEHOLD by Joan Anderson

A WILLIAMSBURG HOUSEHOLD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Two days in the lives of household slaves--a story with the flavor of a historical drama performed for tourists. Colonial Williamsburg provides an elegant, starched (and unrealistically clean) backdrop for the chores, cares, and worries of enterprising young Rippon and his unruly friend Aberdeen. Rippon, who has been sold to Wetherburn's Tavern, is busy carrying firewood, making beds, and emptying chamber pots while his mother and sisters iron, go to market, and chop wood for the Moody family. Care is taken to show the responsibilities of the slave children, who must keep their self-control in the face of indignities as well as keep the household running. Meanwhile, the mistress complains; her daughter has dancing lessons; and her son learns that he must keep slaves in their places. The bright, obviously posed photos are brimming with authenticity, but lack of consistency in costuming--in consecutive pictures, the slave mother, Cate, appears in three outfits on the same day--may make characters hard to follow. The light tone glosses over such serious issues as Aberdeen's unjust whipping, and characters remain undeveloped, Still, although sometimes pedantic, the new angle on Colonial experience will be useful.

Pub Date: May 2nd, 1988
Page count: 46pp
Publisher: Clarion/Houghton Mifflin