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Yellow Crocus: A Novel Paperback – December 17, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Flaming Chalice Press (December 17, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984502203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984502202
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (956 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Yellow Crocus is an engaging, thought-provoking story. It's a must-read for anyone who enjoys Antebellum historical fiction or is looking for a compelling story to add to their book club reading list."

Katerie Prio
ForeWord Clarin

About the Author

I was surprised when the writing bug bit me. The idea for YELLOW CROCUS came to me in 1998; I was with a group of people talking about Tiger Woods. Someone mentioned that he identifies as much as an Asian person as an African-American person. I thought, "Of course he does, his mother is Asian. You form your core identity in relationship to your primary caregivers. It's a basic part of the attachment process."Then the image of Lisbeth, a white baby, breastfeeding in the loving arms of Mattie, an enslaved wetnurse came to me in a flash. I thought about what it would be like for Lisbeth to dearly love Mattie and then be taught by society that she wasn't a full person. I wondered how it would feel for Mattie to be forced to abandon Samuel, her own child, in the slave Quarters. Then I imagined what the experience would be like for Miss Anne, the birth mother, to have her own child twist away from her to get into Mattie's arms. These characters started to haunt me. Various scenes popped into my head. Though I had never written anything, I was being called to tell this story. For my fortieth birthday, I began the personal marathon of writing my first novel. I hope you will come to love these characters as much as I have.
My experiences in multiracial, developmental psychology provided ample fodder for the story of Mattie and Lisbeth. I was the founder and director of Woolsey Children's School where I had first hand experience loving children that were not my own.  As a birth doula I have the privilege to witness the intensity and joy of childbirth. You can see that my birth experiences are reflected in the novel as well.  I live in a small co-housing community in Berkeley, California, with my wonderful wife, Rinda, our amazing children, Kalin and Maya, and our crazy dogs, Bella and Lucie. YELLOW CROCUS is my first novel. Some new characters are starting to haunt me. So I dare say there will be more books in my future.

More About the Author

My experiences in multiracial, developmental psychology provided ample fodder for the story of Mattie and Lisbeth. I was the founder and director of Woolsey Children's School where I had first hand experience loving children that were not my own. There are scenes in the book that were largely influenced interactions I had with children from Woolsey. As a birth doula I have the privilege to witness the intensity and joy of childbirth. You can see that my birth experiences are reflected in the novel as well. I recently started working as the Director of Children and Family Ministries at the First Unitarian Church in Oakland. I live in a small co-housing community in Berkeley, California, with my wonderful wife, Rinda, our amazing children, Kalin and Maya, and our crazy dogs, Bella and Lucie. Yellow Crocus is my first novel.

I was surprised when the writing bug bit me. The idea for the story came to me in 1998, I was with a group of people talking about Tiger Woods. Someone mentioned that he identifies as much as an Asian person as an African-American person. I thought to myself, "Of course he does, his mother is Asian. You form your core identity in relationship to your primary caregivers. It's a basic part of the attachment process."

Then the image of Lisbeth, a white baby, breastfeeding in the loving arms of Mattie, an enslaved wetnurse came to me in a flash. I thought about what it would be like for Lisbeth to dearly love Mattie and then be taught by society that she wasn't a full person. I wondered how it would feel for Mattie to be forced to abandon Samuel, her own child, in the slave Quarters. Then I imagined what the experience would be like for Miss Anne, the birth mother, to have her own child twist away from her to get into Mattie's arms. These characters started to haunt me. Various scenes popped into my head. Though I had never written anything, I was being called to tell this story. For my fortieth birthday, I began the personal marathon of writing my first novel. I hope you will come to love these characters as much as I have.

Some new characters are starting to haunt me. So I dare say there will be more books in my future.


Customer Reviews

It a wonderful story and very well written!
Bambi
This is a story of love, of friendship, of true courage.
Diane Rumer
Once I started reading this book I couldn't put it down.
Nancy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

116 of 117 people found the following review helpful By N. Mader on April 6, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was most surprised by how much beauty and pleasure I could find in a book which in large part is about slavery. I could not put it down. With two small toddlers at home, it is rare for me to finish a book in 6 months, let alone in the few days it took me to read Yellow Crocus. The details of the deep and powerful relationship between a white girl and the black woman who nursed, raised her and saved her life- enabled me (a white lady) to stomach more of the realities of slavery and glimpse for moments about how folks managed those times. Of course, as a mother, it was unbelievably painful to read about what Mattie (the main character) has to endure with her own children. But this a decidedly a good pain that brings me in touch with the strength and brilliance of women....and the ability of some to continue to do the hard work of mothering and loving under the most difficult of circumstances. Thanks to Abrahim for letting me shed many a meaningful tear.
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91 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Sweet Diva Reader (SDR) Marla on February 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was for me just a fantastic read from start to finish! It made me:

1. Horrified at times- being reminded how slaves were so badly and brutally treated back then, seeing Mattie's anger displayed in an early scene (no spoiler) that left me holding my breath and being made to remember how women were treated during this period of time too.

2. Angry at others- as when Mattie was torn from her family, including her 3 month old baby and was supposed to be pacified by being able to visit them for a few hours on a Sunday, witnessing through the young heroine's eyes the brutal rape of a young slave girl (not graphically depicted) and reading the general attitudes of people on the black/white person/non-person issues common to this time.

3. I laughed in spots and I cried in others while reading it which means for me it was a pretty darn successful story. I can't ask for much more then that from any author.

Some have said that they found the book only suited for teens because parts seemed to have been written for a YA audience. My response to that is that the plot of this book revolved primarily around 2 things, us getting to watch Lisbeth grow up and her changing attitudes as the book progressed and life through the eyes of Mattie (Ma-ie). I believe these scenes that felt more YA were to give us a flavor of what it was like to grow up during this time and don't know of any other way it could have been done if some of the young girl's activities and thoughts (life on a daily basis) weren't represented. The other perspective life as seen through Mattie's eyes was more adult because she was an adult and had to grow up pretty early on because of the circumstances of her life.

I wish there was a sequel to this one something I almost never say!
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Sheri P. on December 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is one of those books that's hard to put down, as the characters grab hold of you. The scenes are so vivid and linger on long past the end of the book. I realized while I was reading how rare it is that a novel deals directly with the intimate details of birth and mothering. It is an insightful look at the heartbreak, courage, silences, and love that exist amidst the cruelty of slavery and the bizarre rationalizations of those who profited from plantation life.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Kim B. on October 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this novel, from start to finish. It takes place in Virginia in the 1800s, while slavery was still the norm in the South. This is Laila Ibrahim's first novel, and I thought it was a great first effort...I found it difficult to put down, and at just over 200 pages, it was a quick read. I look forward to reading other books from this author.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By justtiffany on February 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My husband recently brought me a kindle and I had looked very hard for books pertaining to African American culture that were free. I must admit that I was thinking since the author was not African American there would be a sort of romanticism or sugar-coated theme with the relationship between the slaves and their owner but, this story proved to shed light on the truths of slavery.

As someone who majored in history with a concentration on African American history, I must say this book was awesome. This book was very unbiased and was very factual in relating information on the society and communities in the south during slavery. The book "told it like it is" when it comes to the relationship between mammies and the children they were forced to suckle and raise. Many people do not realize how the slave woman had to put her owner's child ahead of her own. I also appreciated the happy but realistic ending. This book among many other stories of early American life is a must read.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Chai on Life VINE VOICE on February 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read that quote in a review about a book on slavery over 30 years ago and, to me, truer words were never spoken.
This book, Yellow Crocus, written about that same dispicable subject was written with such grace I was shocked to find it was the author's first book. It tells the story from the viewpoint of the slave/nanny and that of her charge. It was well written, it was easy to love the 2 female leads and I do look forward to reading more of this author.
My only objection: This book was lovely, but the way slaves were treated was not. (Spoiler) While it is was enjoyable to see a happy ending, slavery was not a fairy tale, and the life of a slave was very rarely tied up in so neat and pretty a package. Freedom, family intact, earning a good living was indeed a fairy tale. However, I hold on to the fact some fairy tales come true.
Again I am looking forward to reading more from this author, would enjoying reading a sequel telling us what life brings to both women. Bravo!
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