Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Rush Home Road - Lori Lansens

Adelaide (Addy) Shadd, is an elderly black woman, living on a trailer park in a town hear the US/Canadian Border.  She's been widowed for longer than she cares to remember, her children dead, her life full of nothing more than memories and her cigarette habit.  And then, one day, a small brown child, with a white mother, is abandoned on her.  Too old for this, Addy takes a while to find out that the child's mother is never coming back, and in that time comes to know that she cannot pass the child over to the authorities.  She must keep her, love her and try and mend her. Sharla can only remember pain, a succession of boyfriends her Ma brings home, a dirty trailer and things she shouldn't yet know of.

During the course of this book, Addy's memories will take her (and the reader) back to Rusholme, a border town on the Canadian side, settled by runaway slaves in the 1800s, where she and her own small brother were born and brought up.  She will remember leaving, and why, she will remember lovers, children, folk who were kind and those who where not;  folk who loved her and those who betrayed her; and all the while she will struggle to stay well enough to help that little girl brought to her by fate.  Addy's story is intertwined with history - the Underground Railroad, the Pullman porter movement, and Prohibition all form part of her story, and show how hard life could be for African Americans, even over the border from America and memories of slavery.