THE NIGHT I FREED JOHN BROWN by John Michael Cummings

THE NIGHT I FREED JOHN BROWN

Age Range: 12 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Harpers Ferry, W.Va., a little town tucked in the shadows of the surrounding mountains, is a perfect place for an old-fashioned tale of family secrets and revelations. It was the site of John Brown’s raid, and the ghost of John Brown lives on in the anger and rage of Josh Connors’s father. The gentler spirits of Thomas Jefferson and Frederick Douglass, who also had connections to the town, seem to inhabit the neighbor Josh is drawn to, an actor, historian and reader of Shakespeare who kindles in Josh a desire to see more of the world and lead a better life. But all is not what it seems, and the psychological drama set up in the conflict between the two men unfolds in a tense series of nighttime events through which Josh learns much about his father’s past and from which springs a hope for transcendence. Characterizations are sharp, the setting eerily evoked and the story satisfying, though as hard to pin down as the town’s ghostly forebears. A highly original meditation on how the past can haunt the present. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-399-25054-5
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2008




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