Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman by Ernest J. Gaines

After reading A Lesson Before dying by Ernest J. Gaines, I wanted to experience another of his novels. I listened to the audio version of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman. There are several hours of time each day that I can't read a print book, but that I can listen to a book: getting ready for the day, cooking meals, running errands, cleaning house. I can get through so many more of my 601 pile of to be read books by using the Overdrive App to connect to my local library's audio versions of my books.

First of all, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pitman, is not a true story. It is not an autobiography, but an imagined conversation with a imagined woman who is over 100 years old. She was freed from slavery at the end of the Civil War when she was child, and it ends during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

Although this story is not real, many of the situations probably happened to someone. This story shows the far reaching effects of slavery  and Jim Crow laws and how the pain of those laws are still felt in our world today. This story helps the reader feel more compassion for those who suffered under this system.

I found some parts of the narrative repetitive, but overall, this is a book worth reading. If we are to understand those who are not us, we must read a lot of books.

Blurb from Barnes and Noble:
 "This is a novel in the guise of the  tape-recorded recollections of a black woman who has  lived 110 years, who has been both a slave and a  witness to the black militancy of the 1960's. In this  woman Ernest Gaines has created a legendary figure,  a woman equipped to stand beside William  Faulkner's Dilsey in The Sound And The  Fury." Miss Jane Pittman, like Dilsey, has  'endured,' has seen almost everything and foretold the  rest. Gaines' novel brings to mind other  great works The Odyssey for the way  his heroine's travels manage to summarize the  American history of her race, and Huckleberry  Finn for the clarity of her voice, for  her rare capacity to sort through the mess of years  and things to find the one true story in it all."  — Geoffrey Wolff, Newsweek.

Read to a child today even if that child is you. 

1 comment:

  1. I have yet to read this book, but I remember watching the movie during my sophomore year of high school. When I found out that it wasn't a true autobiography, which sadly was many years later, I couldn't believe it. Nice review!