This action-packed, tautly plotted first novel presents a quest for freedom on the Underground Railroad that realistically blends kindness and cruelty. "Trouble follows me like a shadow," begins 11-year-old narrator Samuel. When Harrison, one of the elderly slaves who raised him after the master sold off the boy's mother, decides to run away, Samuel must go with him. "Truth is," Samuel confesses, "even the thought of going straight to Hell didn't scare me as much as the thought of running away." His fears prove justified. Samuel and Harrison's journey thrusts them into uncertainty and peril, and introduces an imaginatively and poignantly rendered cast. Characters include a black man who helps them cross the Ohio River, all the while threatening them with a pistol and a knife if they don't do exactly as he says (he abandons a less cooperative fugitive to certain capture) and a creepy young white widow who converses with her husband's ghost. Throughout, Pearsall seamlessly refers to Samuel's and Harrison's hardships under slavery, creating a sense of lives that extend past the confines of the book. This memorable portrayal of their haphazard, serendipitous and dangerous escape to freedom proves gripping from beginning to end, Ages 9-12.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Gr 5-8-Strong characters and an inventive, suspenseful plot distinguish Pearsall's first novel, a story of the Underground Railroad in 1859. Samuel, the 11-year-old slave who narrates the story, is awakened by 70-year-old Harrison, who has decided to flee their tyrannical Kentucky master. The questions that immediately flood the boy's mind provide the tension that propels the novel: What has precipitated the old man's sudden desire for freedom? Why would he risk taking Samuel along? Harrison is mindful of the dangers and wary of trusting even the strangers who might offer help. Samuel, an impulsive boy who seems prone to trouble, is grudgingly accustomed to his life of servitude and reluctant to leave it. As days of hiding and nights of stealthy movement take them farther away from their former lives, Harrison and Samuel forge a bond that strengthens their resolve. Faith, luck, and perseverance see the man and boy safely into Canada, where a new journey-one of self-discovery and self-healing-begins. Pearsall's extensive research is deftly woven into each scene, providing insight into plantation life, 19th-century social mores, religious and cultural norms, and the political turmoil in the years preceding the Civil War. Samuel's narrative preserves the dialect, the innocence, the hope, and even the superstitions of slaves like Harrison and himself, whose path to freedom is filled with kindness and compassion as well as humiliation and scorn. This is a compelling story that will expand young readers' understanding of the Underground Railroad and the individual acts of courage it embraced.
William McLoughlin, Brookside School, Worthington, OH
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Editorial Reviews
It is September of 1859, and eleven year old Samuel, who was born as Master Hackler’s slave, works on the Hackler farm at Blue Ash near Washington, KY. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Wayne S. Walker
7th Grade Students
I thought the book Trouble Don’t Last was a very interesting book and I enjoyed reading it. Read more
Excellent, favorite of my 5th grader. It was required reading in his class. I would recommend this book to everyone, regardless of age.Published on March 22, 2013 by IONE CRENSHAW
i picked up this book at my school library when i was in third or fourth grade...thinking it would be boring and uninteresting to me... Read morePublished on April 1, 2012 by Ashley
Trouble don't last is an award winning chapter book reccomeded for children ages 9-11. It is told through the narration of Samuel, and eleven year old boy. Read morePublished on February 21, 2009 by Jennifer Pannullo
I adore historical fiction and welcome the engaging tales that bring historical time periods to life for my students. Trouble Don't Last is historical fiction at its BEST! Read morePublished on March 17, 2008 by Dawn De Lorenzo
Samuel was a slave in Kentucky for Master Hackler. His mom was sold when he was a kid. Lily and Harrison, the other two slaves, raised him. Harrison and
Samuel ran away. Read more