Review of “Taking Liberty”
Lady Washington’s “personal girl”, had a life of splendor and riches even though she was a house slave. Then her life is drastically changed when she realizes her choice. None always thought that she had an easy life, but when the chance of freedom comes she doesn’t know what to do. Will she spend the rest of her life as a comfortable slave, or chance the real world as a free woman?
With characters that touch your heart and a plot that teaches you to never take for granted what you have, Ann Rainfall’s Taking Liberty is an unforgettable and worthwhile read or those who care to know why we have this incredible gift of freedom. In Taking Liberty, all of the main characters contributed (some unknowingly) to Moneys difficult decision. Some were cruel, some were nice, and some were Just plain odd, but all of them had a connection to None In one way or another.
The narrator, None, describes the characters in such a way that they seem to come to life. The “mulatto slaves” are one of the main groups of characters In the story. None portrays the meaning of mulatto as being half white, and only these slaves are allowed to work inside of Lady Washington’s house. None, one of these slaves, Is depicted as the “pet” of Lady Washington’s and her nickname as her “personal girl” Is used as both an insult and a compliment. She always asks questions and searches for the answer until she finds It, and doesn’t care how long It will take.
She lives In Lady Washington’s house with her harsh and strict mother, who Is described as “a barrel of old pickles; tough and sour”, and who loves None but shows her affection In a way that Is rarely noticed, Hercules the head cook who Is “small, wiry, and full of moods”, and Christopher, a body servant for General Washington who was “straight, with a ready mile and a way of making you feel better Just being around him”. There was also Old Kinds the conjurer who could “read the Insides of a chicken to tell the future” and who lived In a village not far from Lady Washington’s home.
Besides the moving and slightly harebrained characters, the remarkable and noteworthy plot Is Rainfall’s real masterpiece of the book. When None Judge becomes an expert mistress and one of the lucky few who work In Lady Washington’s house, she thinks that her life couldn’t be better. Only when George Washington becomes president and she moves to Philadelphia with the rest of the household does she find sight she never thought she would see; a free black woman.
After that life-changing encounter, None grasps the fact that It Is possible for a black woman to live without being a servant or slave, and finds that there Is a lot she doesn’t know about the world around her. She left the woman that day “feeling as If I had been living underwater all my life, thrashing about, and I’d suddenly come up for air”. Following this comprehension, she tries to think of an unobtrusive way to gather enough money Lastly, Taking Liberty gives a lasting effect to all who read it. The poignant theme is en that most take advantage of and never think of not having; the gift of liberty and the right of independence.
In the end of the story, None Judge eventually sneaks onto the Nancy, a ship that carries bridles, saddles, harnesses, and other leather supplies to Portsmouth out of Philadelphia, and successfully makes it to New Hampshire where she continues her life as a mistress of the needle. After she left the Washington’s, she had a typically average life, accept for the one thing that she could never take for granted… Freedom. Ann Rainfall’s Taking Liberty breathtaking plot, unforgettable characters, invaluable theme, and precious knowledge of our American History are Just as significant now as they were when the book took place.
Today most everyone assumes that freedom is something Just given for free, and this book teaches those with that opinion that they are very wrong. None Judge was a role model that all should look up to; she was a person who followed her dreams and didn’t let anything or anyone stop her from achieving them. As a reader who’s last genre choice is usually historical fiction, I would have to say that this story one that every American should read.