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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Cane River- by Lalita Tademy » User review

Cane River is a must read -riveting from beginning to end

  • Mar 2, 2009
  • by
Lalita Tademy's ability to render her family's history in a tale woven with heartache, pain, triumph, and the age old struggle of the races. Ms. Tademy begins her tale in 1834 in the heyday of slavery at a Creole plantation owned by the Derbannes.  This plantation is where this lineage of strong African American women begins.

Sexual assault and true loving relationships begin to whiten Ms. Tademy's bloodline until certain members are indistinguishable from others. However the old adage "one drop of black blood means you're black", is ever present, and keeps a clear separation between two sides of the same family. 

Ms. Tademy brilliantly delves into the issues of the psychological impact of looking white while being a member of a black family, the loving relationships that arose between slave and master, society's effect on non traditional relationships between African Americans and Caucasians during the pre and post civil war era.   The fact that she is telling such an authentic story about her own ancestors and has added pictures, old letters and stories passed down from generation to generation makes the story that much more powerful.

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Shannon Johnson ()
Ranked #222
  A freelance writer whose favorite topics are organic foods, healthy living, and all things green. A professor of career communications, an avid yogi, a vegetarian, and a mommy.I am a beach … more
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About this book


Cane River, ISBN # 0-446-53052-2,  was written by Lalita Tademy and  published by Warner Books in 2001.   Ms. Tademy searched seven generations of her family tree, and unearthed a story about the brutality of slavery, love, race, and heartache and ultimately triumph all down in the bayou of Cane River, Louisiana.    The book is broken into three parts, beginning with Ms. Tademy's great great great grandmother Suzette, continuing with he great great grandmother Philomene and ending with he great grandmother Emily.

Each woman found herself entwined with the Creole plantation owned by the Derbannes.  Suzette's rape by her Master's French visitor begins an odyssey where race and the rules that governed pre and post civil war Louisiana find a central theme.  Through the generations as the family tree voluntarily and involuntarily lightened the women managed to make great headway in securing a place in history for their family.  Ms. Tademy does a wonderful job delving into the relationships that existed between white southern plantation owners and their slaves in all aspects of interaction-including love.

The importance of family prevails from beginning to end and serves to fan the fires of interest in Ms. Tademy as she unveils her family's legacies in an objective, historical light.

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Books, Slavery, Lousiana, Cane River


ISBN-10: 0-446-53052-2
Author: Lalita Tademy
Genre: African American Fiction
Publisher: Warner Books, Inc.
Date Published: April 2001
Polls with this book
A Fine Balance

Oprahs Book Club 2000-2009


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