As his father dies, Henry is freed by abolitionist John Brown, a Christian man determined to rid the United States of the evil practice of slavery. After accidentally eating John Brown’s good luck charm, Henry becomes Henrietta–or Onion–and Brown’s good luck charm. Caught up in Brown’s schemes, Henry rides all over Kansas and eastern United States with John Brown and his band of outlaw abolitionists in his quest to abolish slavery.
I greatly enjoyed this book. Onion is a superbly crafted narrator, and his pointed observations and personal struggles carry the book, which otherwise may have taken too long to get to the main goal of the story, John Brown’s ultimate plan to overthrow slavery. I was enthralled by the contrast between Henry’s personal reluctance and others’ reactions to his actions. These contrasts and Onion’s observations about the other characters also bring life to this story.
McBride’s vivid descriptions and language also make this book engaging. Henry’s narrative voice–an unpolished way of speaking– was well-done and helped to draw me into the story. When I put down the book to do other things, my inner dialogue would often sound like the unpolished diction in the story. Because of that, I could not wait to get back to the book.
In short, you do not want to miss this book.