Monday, January 14, 2019

#BookReview: The Daughters of Salem: How We Sent Our Children to their Deaths Part 1 by Thomas Gilbert

Historical Graphic Novel

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Colonial Massachusets, early 1690’s. When a young girl in a Puritan town rejects a farmer boy’s gift and instead slips out into the forest to dance with a young man from the Abenaki tribe, it sets off a chain of events resulting in one of the worst cases of mass hysteria in U.S. history, as neighbor turns against neighbor and friends accuse friends of the most terrible things. A fictional re-imagining of the Salem Witch Trials, in which gender politics, religion, xenophobia, innocent games of fortunetelling, and one man’s sinful indiscretion are all factors that lead to the deadly witch hunt.

I picked up Thomas Gilbert’s The Daughters of Salem: How We Sent Our Children to their Deaths on a whim. I was casually interested in the subject matter, and I’ve grown to love the innovation and creativity of graphic novels so I felt the odds were in my favor.

Abigail Hobbs is a historical figure, as is Elisabeth Parris, but the friendship they share is wholly fictional. Gilbert uses their association to explore intolerance, the patriarchal structure of colonial America, and femicide in Western culture.

The artwork of this particular piece is simple but interesting. Gilbert incorporates some graphic imagery, but the material felt appropriate to his themes, and I didn’t feel gratuitous by any means. That said, the characters were a little thin for my tastes, and I wish there’d been more complexity in the narration.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Netgalley
Read: January 12, 2019

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