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Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud

The Healing - Jonathan Odell Rating: 2* of five The Book Description: "Compelling, tragic, comic, tender and mystical... Combines the historical significance of Kathryn Stockett's The Help with the wisdom of Toni Morrison's Beloved." —Minneapolis Star TribuneRich in mood and atmosphere, The Healing is a warmhearted novel about the unbreakable bonds between three generations of female healers and their power to restore the body, the spirit, and the soul.In Antebellum Mississippi, Granada Satterfield has the mixed fortune to be born on the same day that her plantation mistress's daughter, Becky, dies of cholera. Believing that the newborn possesses some of her daughter's spirit, the Mistress Amanda adopts Granada, dolling her up in Becky's dresses and giving her a special place in the family despite her husband's protests. But when The Master brings a woman named Polly Shine to help quell the debilitating plague that is sweeping through the slave quarters, Granada's life changes. For Polly sees something in the young girl, a spark of "The Healing," and a domestic battle of wills begins, one that will bring the two closer but that will ultimately lead to a great tragedy. And seventy-five years later, Granada, still living on the abandoned plantation long after slavery ended, must revive the buried memories before history repeats itself.Inspirational and suspenseful, The Healing is the kind of historical fiction readers can’t put down—and can’t wait to recommend once they’ve finished."A remarkable rite-of-passage novel with an unforgettable character. . . .The Healing transcends any clichés of the genre with its captivating, at times almost lyrical, prose; its firm grasp of history; vivid scenes; and vital, fully realized people, particularly the slaves with their many shades of color and modes of survival." —The Associated Press My Review: I would ordinarily have consigned this to The Mouldering Mound of ~Meh~ had I not been so worked up over its sheer gracelessness, its plodding flatfooted ill-thought-out platitudinousness, and its breathlessly overwrought silliness.”I told her I ain't nobody's pet!” Granada snapped, stomping her foot.He looked back at Granada. “I'm sorry for it, Granada, but you best get on back to that sick house. Master ain't fooling around.”Granada couldn't believe it. Chester was scared of Polly, too!On her dawdling return to the hospital, she thought about what Chester had told Sylvie, the part about the master throwing Polly in a ditch. Granada sure liked the sound of that. Aunt Sylvie always said that without somebody to grieve you into heaven, you might not be able to find your way,“Humph!” Granada thought. “That woman don't belong in heaven! If God is great, He's going to bar the door!” And if there was anything she could do to keep her out, she would gladly do it twice.That was it! (p114, US hardcover edition)Nauseous stuff. Granada...now did you get that? The character's name is Granada! We're on p114 and we must know her name's Granada six times in under a hundred words! Except the one time that she and her might give a slower reader a pause!...is presented as speaking and thinking in a bastard half-dialect speech pattern that drive me wild. Go big or go home, Odell. Use dialect a la Hurston or make it standard English.Appropriate to the story and the time, uses of “He” and “His” for references to the christian deity got on my nerves almost immediately, and three hundred pages later had worked me into a frothing frenzy of loathing. This adolescent exceptionalism on behalf of an allegedly immortal and omnipotent being is culturally insensitive and intellectually indefensible.But wait! There's more!Gran Gran, as she (remember now!) comes to be called, takes lessons in healering from the hated Polly who is of course the beloved Polly and she (remember now!) becomes a healer known in three counties and even, at the end of her long life, takes on another soul to bring up in the ways of healering, called Violet, who has a Shocking Connection to Gran Gran!Oh good gawd, I can't go on. If three hundred and thirty pages of exclams and pseudodialect do not cause you to long for a swift and merciful death, go on and read it. Maybe, if you liked The Help, this will give you some pleasure, being The Help set in slave times.For my part, I will daub myself liberally with baboon dung before I will pick up another highly praised Southern-set novel.