Thursday, December 24, 2009

#BookReview: A Different Kind of Christmas - Alex Haley

If you're looking for any of the familiar characters from Roots or Queen, you'll have to look elsewhere. This is also not the made-for-tv Roots: The Gift. First published in 1988, A Different Kind of Christmas is set in 1855 and is the story nineteen year old Fletcher Randall. A native of North Carolina, and son of a prominent senator, Fletcher is the heir apparent to his family's impressive plantation.

A visit to Philadelphia his sophomore year at Princeton, and an unlikely friendship with three Quaker brothers, starts the young man on the path to question the morality of slavery. Though he's managed to avoid facing his parents, returning home for Christmas can't be avoided. Agreeing to assist with the Underground Railroad proves to be the biggest challenge he's faced in his 19 years, especially when he finds out that his assignment places him in direct conflict with his family. With assistance from an unlikely source, Fletcher works to right the wrongs that his family has perpetuated for generations.

At just 100 pages, this is a very quick read. I received this as a gift in 1991 and this is the first time I've picked it up since I first read it back then. The detail given to characters like those that appear in other Haley novels is not as evident here. I suppose if it had been, the story would have been more memorable without re-reading it. Nonetheless, it was fairly enjoyable.

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