NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Monday, August 4, 2008


by Kate McCafferty

Stolen away from Ireland as a young girl and sold into indentured servitude in Barbados, Cot Daley tells the story of her life as she gives her testimony regarding her part in a failed slave revolt taking place shortly after her release from over twenty years of captivity.

Short but not an easy read, Testimony of an Irish Slave Girl was a fascinating book despite the fact that I never got attached to any of the characters, including Cot. I read with a strange, detached feeling about her kidnapping, the brutality of her life in the cane fields, the fates of her children from "breeding programs". In a way, that made the book all the more meaningful, because I wasn't focused on the plight of one or two people. I was able to watch the whole contemptible tale unfold and take in the lives of all the players. It was the doctor taking down Cot's words that I found most intriguing. The parallel between Cot's true captivity and his implied role as an unwitting slave to the governor was an idea strongly hinted at in the narrative, but never quite completely grasped by the ambitious man. And food for thought for many who think their lives are their own.


Darlene said...

This does sound like an interesting novel Lezlie. I'm currently reading Sweetsmoke-a novel about slavery. It's difficult to read this kind of material but at the same time I've always been drawn to novels of this type. It's hard to imagine worlds such as these.

Lezlie said...

Dar ~ I completely agree. I've heard about Sweetsmoke, and thought it sounded like something I'd like. I've got it requested at the library. I'll be waiting to see what you think of it!


Anonymous said...

Hmmm...methinks this may be placed on the ol' TBR list. Why were you detached while reading this? Were the characters lacking in some way?

Lezlie said...

Chartroose ~ That's a great question! I had to think about it for a minute. I believe my feelings of detachment stemmed from the success of the author in reflecting Cot's emotional state in her nearly dispassionate manner of telling her painful story. You could feel the numbness of a woman who had seen the worst life has to offer and knows there is nothing else it can do to her.

Lezlie said...

Chatroose ~ Oops. I forgot the second half of your question! No, the characters were not lacking at all. They all had very distinct personalities, their own coping mechanisms. They were all discussed by Cot so matter-of-factly and pretty much just noted and dismissed by the doctor taking the deposition, which drove home the "less than human" view of the slaves.

Answering your questions has really made me think about what it is that makes us like or dislike a book. I think even only a few years ago this book would have bored me, but I've grown in my reading. I can see it now in a different light than I would have previously and appreciate the writing style used to make this book more deeply affecting than it initially seems. Thanks for the questions!!