I really really really wish I had liked this more. Instead I found myself bored throughout the book. If the author, Maryse Conde had actually I think been able to make me feel like she had a good sense of who Tituba was I would have enjoyed this more.
Conde decides to have Tituba tell her mother's story and her stepfather's story and how she came to be a free slave until she went to live with John Indian.
I didn't really like the set-up to Tituba's life since it really didn't make much sense that a black woman was somehow free and then voluntarily went to live and become a slave to her husband's owner because she was so in love with him. I don't know much about voodoo practices in Barbados so I imagine Conde did some research. I didn't really get the importance of Mama Yaya while reading. In fact a lot of things that Tituba mentions learning about I didn't really get since I don't know much about voodoo practices. I wish that had been explained more.
We spend a lot of time with Tituba in Barbados before she and her husband are sold to Samuel Parrish and settle in Salem. And we know that eventually Tituba will be accused of witchcraft along with other women in Salem.
What I thought was weird was that the Salem passages went quickly. Conde did have the real life transcripts from what Tituba confessed to inserted into the book as dialogue. And she did the same thing to the character of John Indian. However, everything after that appears to be fictional. She instead has Tituba sold to someone else, returning to Barbados only to meet a tragic end. She includes a fictional Hester Prynne in this book (which really threw me) who is also imprisoned along with the other accused who is being brought to court for her adultery. I don't get why Conde included a fictional literary character in this book.
I have done my best to find out what became of Tituba, but unfortunately not much seems to be out there. And there are some disputes about whether she was a black woman or a Native American woman.
I didn't really care for the writing in this book. It seems everyone called everyone the "N" word and I hated reading it. Also a lot of the dialogue just didn't appear to be written for the times (1690s) and instead there seemed to be too much modern speech in this book.
The flow was not that great. I can't believe how short the Salem passages are, to me that should have been the main focus of the book. I don't know why Conde moved the action away from there and back to Barbados.