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Douglass' Women: A Novel Paperback – September 23, 2003
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Charles Johnson [A] passionate, moving novel that explores the place where American history intersects with the human heart.
Whoopi Goldberg Once again Jewell Parker Rhodes takes us someplace we never knew existed. With insight and depth we get into the lives of these three historical people, Douglass, Douglass, and Assing, only to realize that they are as contemporary as we are. Well done!
Diana Gabaldon author of The Fiery Cross A remarkable act of fictional biography!
About the Author
- Publisher : Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (September 23, 2003)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 358 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0743410106
- ISBN-13 : 978-0743410106
- Item Weight : 14.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.9 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #710,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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the 2 main women in Douglass’ life were written in complete contrast to what I would have expected but that made the story that much more enjoyable.
Frederick Douglas led an interesting life and now I can’t wait to read his autobiography
"Douglass' Women" is about two very different women loving the same strong, ex-slave, abolitionist, a writer. I believe Ms. Rhodes knew Frederick Douglass had to be included in the story to understand his women. He is an escaped slave afraid of being enslaved again, even by the women in his life. Consequently, he juggles them, accepting their love with little emotional return.
Anna Murray Douglass is a free black woman. She's the stronger of the two women, the realist. She gives her hard-earned money to Freddy to escape his slave master. He later marries her. Anna says Freddy is "Samson-man, standing, perched on the edge of his horizon." She does not like the name Frederick Bailey Douglass, feels it beyond her as his mate. Anna is steadfast in her loyalty and self-confidence and suffers his infidelity.
Ottilie Assing, a German-Jewish woman, teaches him to read and write, and uses his ego and hatred of bondage to keep him near. He becomes Frederick to Ottilie. She is indispensable with her money and time helping him pursue his career. She clearly has a way out of the mistress role, but is too much of a romantic in love to accept the reality of her situation.
Both women suffer the pains of unreciprocated love, heartache from their "great man." Anna says, "Freddy never really learned to love."
I can only conclude that Frederick, husband, lover, and abolitionist is mentally disturbed as a result of his years as a slave. Freedom is the only thing he seems to focus on. This proves to create both bad and good events in his life. Nevertheless, he needs sexual love, takes it wherever he can get it, when he wants it. Yet, it does not interfere with his plans, in spite of the fact that he fathers five children with Anna.
Every page kept me immersed, kept me wondering what next. Jewell Parker Rhodes penned vivid fictional pictures of strong characters, which reflects her ability to understand humankind. It left me wanting to learn more about Douglass, in his words. What an excellent read!