Nubian Circle Book Club

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Fifth Born Book Review

Phyllis Rhodes

Fifth Born is the heart-wrenching debut saga of Odessa Blackburn, the fifth born child to verbally and physically abusive parents, in the tenements of St. Louis, MO.  From as far back as she can remember, she has treaded lightly and second-guessed her moves to be the good, obedient child who seeks the love and approval of her parents.  However, chaos and neglect reign supreme in the Blackburn household.  Her father, an alcoholic and incestuous pedophile, nearly blinds Odessa in one eye during a drunken stupor and ultimately molests Odessa and other female members of the household whenever her mother is absent.  Sadly, her mother discovers the incident and does nothing.

Throughout Odessa's young life, she sporadically gets encouragement from a teacher, an older sister, an uncle, and the belief in her deceased grandmothers unconditional love for her.  She learns hard lessons but eventually becomes more self-reliant, self-assured, and starts to exhibit some traits of self-love.  The salvation to her dark and painful existence comes from an unlikely source in an unexpected ending.  She discovers that her search for truth was not in vain and it is a liberating reward for her lifelong quest.  Lockhart's writing style reminds me of Alice Walker's-- it is intense and pointed, but this new author has a unique voice all her own.  A great debut novel!







The Nubian Circle Book Club rating for Fifth Born is 4 out of 5 stars.  We welcome your comments and thoughts about this book review.  Please e-mail us at this address:

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