Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis

Christopher Paul Curtis's books are generally outstanding, so I was excited to get my copy of this one. It's the story of a community of escaped slaves who live just across the Canadian border in the 1800s. Elijah is a boy known for two things—being the first free-born citizen of Buxton and for throwing up on Frederick Douglass (a famous ex-slave who came to town when Elijah was younger). At first this book seemed kind of like a slice-of-life story about how Elijah was "fra-gile" and was afraid of all kinds of things. There were funny, folksy stories about him and the incidents that happened in Buxton. As the book went on, though, I realized that the author was just setting us up for an amazing, tragic finish. Everything came together in a heartbreaking final incident. You'll just have to read it to understand what I'm talking about. If you stick with this book to the end you are guaranteed to be amazed.

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