I’m currently reading a 230 page book called Trouble Don’t Last, which has won the Scott O’Dell Award for historical fiction. The author, Shelley Pearsall, enjoys learning and teaching history, she has been involved in many unique historical jobs. I choose to read Trouble Don’t Last because I have yet to read an historical fiction book this year and the main character, Samuel, is no ordinary African American, he is a runaway slave. I was interested to read more about Samuel’s life.
This story is about Samuel, an eleven year old boy, who works for Master Hackler alongside Lily and Harrison. He’s used to the harsh punishments and orders, it’s the only thing he knows. Samuel was born a slave. He has accepted that this is life, until one night, things get interesting, Harrison is running away and wants to take Samuel with him. As they journey away, Samuel and Harrison encounter many challenges and people, not necessarily good people. Samuel is young, but he learns so much along the way, but are they lucky enough to make it out alive?
The main character was brave. He had to walk through deadly waters, he came face to face with a man who could be mistaken for a monster, he heard about the patrollers who find runaways and give them what they deserve, and the boy still managed to keep going, forgetting about the consequences. All he could think about and all he cared about, was freedom.
I like the way the author constantly brought up situations to keep the story entertaining. There’s not one point in the book I came across that the characters weren’t struggling or succeeding. It’s very easy for a story to fall flat and I think the author did a good job of keeping me engaged.
I was surprised when Harrison and Samuel didn’t get caught by Master Hackler. Even when Master Hackler came into the woods to find them. They were hiding. The master could’ve easily found them that day, but it miraculously started raining. The master gave up and walked away frustrated and angry. I couldn’t believe how lucky Harrison and Samuel were. Every second I thought Master Hackler would spot them, my heart would race. I was not just surprised, but really relieved.
This passage is important because it kept being repeated inside Samuel’s head. Being repeated so many times, it must mean something to Samuel.
“”They hunt people who run off from their masters. Human flesh and blood. Hunting you and me ain’t no different than trapping animals to them. I’ll fight ‘til I’m dead and gone…”” (p.66).
I chose this passage because those words scared Samuel. These words were the reason Samuel jumped at every creak or crunch. He was cautious and paranoid. I rate this book a 6/10 because it was interesting but not something I would recommend to my peers. I also think that the topic, slavery, just isn’t something I like to read about in general.