Book Review: The Healing: A Novel by Jonathan Odell
The Healing by Jonathan Odell has been compared to the monster hit “The Help” in that they are both stories about women treated as Slaves in the South. While I liked “The Help,” I was actually really glad the stories read very differently to me. Where “The Help” felt light in many ways to me, “The Healing” was a complex, vivid portrayal of how multi-generational the effects of slavery were in the United States as well as how interconnected the lives of people are in many ways.
Granada is a slave born on a plantation that seems plagued by bad luck. When the plantation’s mistress loses yet another child to death, Granada is brought in as a surrogate child. Years later, Polly Shine, a slave healer, is brought to the plantation to heal the slaves when a disease breaks out and Polly’s arrival brings Granada to her knees and changes how she views her world and herself. How Polly goes about changing life on the plantation is staggering and completely unexpected. The book was compelling and I enjoyed reading it. I found myself bringing it with me everywhere so that I could read it in my downtime. While it does not have the humor of some of the contemporary setting novels of late, the story is well-written and I felt better for having read it. It involved some mystical elements and also some interesting insights into human nature. A thoughtful novel that I could re-read a few times and still not catch everything the author intended.