If You Want to See How Evil People Can Be…Read This Book!
Copper Sun by Sharon Draper
Summary: Amari is a young black girl from a village in Africa. She has an easy life with her parents, younger brother and newly betrothed- Besa. It all changes one day when an Ashanti warrior brings “strange men with skin the color of goat’s milk”. Most of the people in the village are killed, while the young and healthy survivors are captured and taken to be slaves in America. This book follows Amari’s journey to the coast, to America and in slavery. She makes many friends and is the victim of horrible and heinous crimes.
This book is told from two perspectives: Amari and Polly- a young white indentured servant. The two are hesitant to trust each other at first, but certain circumstances force them together. They begin to understand each other in a way they didn’t before, especially Polly. At the beginning of the book, Polly was a pretentious snob, who turned up her nose to be working in the kitchen with slaves. However, as she continues working with Teenie, Amari and Tidbit in the kitchen, she begins to form a family bond with all of them. She realizes that they are human too despite her preconceived notions.
Polly’s character development and arc was my favorite. I was intrigued by Polly’s character because the reader got to experience the psychological change her thoughts and perceptions went through. When Amari is whipped for dropping pie, Polly is disgusted and horrified. It was only a pie after all! I think that was a defining moment for Polly; she truly saw what slavery was and hated how powerless she was to stop it. The other thing I liked about Polly was her spirit; she didn’t buy into the crap that women aren’t supposed to read or have abilities besides childbearing. It was wonderful to see her change since I didn’t really like her at first.
Amari is a kind and gentle spirit. I enjoyed the alternating viewpoints, the contrast between the two girls made the story real. Amari’s softness was the perfect balance to Polly’s sharp tongue. The bond these girls end up developing made reading about their predicament even more heart wrenching. It was amazing how brave and courageous they both were, especially Amari. She kept her hope in the face of terrible circumstances and it was truly inspiring.
The writing in this book is very easy to understand and I flew through the book. Amari’s parts can be a little more difficult than Polly’s since she’s still learning English, but they are still beautifully written. The other part of this book I appreciated was the amount of research that Draper put into making it. It’s not as apparent when you read the story perhaps, but after glancing at her website you realize it’s astounding. Draper has truly outdone herself with the care and craft she put into Copper Sun. Overall, a wonderful though saddening read.