My Name Is Not Friday
YA historical fiction
"When I was first delivered into the hands of God, I brought my
brother with me. I was just seven years old, and when Mama died
giving birth to him, there weren't anyone left to look out for either
of us. Not knowing she was dead, I'd wrapped him in our blanket and
folded Mama's arms against her chest, and rested him there, thinking
he'd be the first thing she'd see when she opens her eyes."
The names we are called are important. Whether bestowed at
birth or adopted or given later in life they can either encapsulate
self definition or forced false identity. The latter is surely the
case for the protagonist of Jon Walter's My Name Is Not Friday.
Samuel and little brother, Joshua, free blacks, end up in a
church run orphanage. They're about as different as two siblings can
be. Samuel is a diligent student, considered the best boy in the
residence. Joshua is an indifferent student who is always getting
One day the orphanage's altar is desecrated. Sure that Joshua
will be blamed and punished, Samuel lies to protect him. Soon he is
in the hands of a slave dealer who renames him Friday after the day he
acquired him. After being sold at auction he becomes the property of
a white boy close to him in age.
The story is suspenseful and poignant. Characters are
convincing. Time and place are vividly evoked. My Name Is Not Friday
is a real gem in the historical fiction genre.
On a personal note, my son is now moving into his first apartment.
Sigh. Of course I'm happy for and proud of him. But I'm nowhere ready
to be an "empty nester". I've got to keep up a life that holds joy
and excitement and unpredictability and belonging. Grad school is
looking like a very good idea.
A great big shout out goes out to my grown up children and their
significant others. They're the cat's pajamas!
Sent from my iPod