The Makings of a Great Novel
TWICE A SLAVE
by Sammy Tippit and Randy Willis
PB, 306 pages
American slavery is a sensitive subject, and few people know that African-Americans were not the only people sold as slaves. Twice A Slave is about one of those people: Joseph Willis (1748-1854), a preacher who planted many of the first Baptist churches in Louisiana. Whereas Joseph’s father was an Englishman, his mother was a Cherokee slave, and when his father died Joseph became a slave to his white uncle on what should have been Joseph’s inherited plantation. Joseph fought against this prejudice to become free, to be happy, and to serve God. This novel is based on the actual events from Willis’s life as recorded in records preserved by his distant relative Randy Willis and by evangelist and author Sammy Tippit.
Twice A Slave has the makings of a great novel, but there are some rough edges. When the book uses details to flesh out characters and explore Joseph’s struggles against racism it’s hard to stop reading, but some secondary characters are not well developed and at times the dialogue is a bit exaggerated in accent or dialect. Overall, however, the book presents an interesting portrait of American slavery, the Revolutionary War, and one man’s perseverance in the face of adversity.
The book is a strong story about perseverance, about Willis’ many struggles to become a free man and accomplish whatever God calls him to do. Many readers will be encouraged by Willis’s perseverance and faith against various obstacles.
This book reviewed by G. Connor Salter who is a professional writing major at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. He is from Colorado Springs, CO.