The Women of Plums captures the voices of several slave women, their stories their ideas and their feelings. It really brings the overall lives of slave women to life. There are stories of love, sadness, pain, happiness, triumph, failure and so much more. As each woman tells a story of herself, someone else or of someone lost the reader is transformed into her time and place.
I have read stories of slave women before, and they have been fairly generalized. Simple women who worked hard, were serious, and took care of children. I think this is one of the few books I have read where the slave woman actually speaks. These women are anything but simple. They demonstrate friendship, intelligence and at times even silliness. .
I read through each poem, not necessarily thorough enough, but the first line that really caught me in this collection of poems was in Prunella's Picninc. "We's sisters, ain"t we? Even though we jumped from different wombs." I thought that this line really helps one grasp the relationships slave women experienced with each other. It is common to call someone you care about a sister, but in these women's situation often away from their real families they represent the bond of sisterhood that may be stronger than what most experience with their biologically tied siblings. The fact that she also says, "jumped" from different wombs sort of gave me the ideas of the way these women may view life. Life may not be something that is not entered comfortably but jumped into, like jumping into a cold pool of water but just doing it because you have to. .
I thought it was incredible how Kendrick is capable of taking on so many different voices. One of my favorite characters was Jenny, each of the poems about her simple and to the point. Jenny in Love really struck my heart because of my love for dance and romance. "Danced in the evenin" while the supper burn; whupped in the morning: danced again.