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Trauma on all sides...


The Kitchen House" by Kathleen Grissom is a powerful and haunting novel that delves deeply into the theme of trauma, slavery and place. Set in the late 18th century, the story explores the lives of both black and white individuals living on a tobacco plantation in Virginia.

The trauma experienced by the characters is at the heart of this compelling narrative.

Grissom skillfully depicts the multifaceted nature of trauma, showing how it affects the characters in different ways based on their race, social status, and personal experiences. The enslaved characters endure the brutality of forced labor, familial separation, and constant fear. Their trauma is intertwined with the systemic oppression of slavery, which is portrayed with raw and painful honesty.


On the other hand, the white characters also grapple with their own forms of trauma, from the psychological toll of witnessing the horrors of slavery to the societal expectations and gender roles of the time. Trauma seeps into every aspect of their lives, impacting their relationships, choices, and futures. It can make people mean.


Throughout the novel, the narrative skillfully navigates the complexities of trauma, illustrating how it can shape a person's identity and choices. Grissom's storytelling is emotionally gripping, and readers can't help but be moved by the characters' struggles.

It's a gripping and thought-provoking work that underscores the importance of acknowledging and addressing the trauma of history to build a more compassionate and just future.


My book, Redeemed, A Memoir of a Stolen Childhood will be published June 25, 2024.

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