Elijah From Buxton is one of those books that makes me declare aloud as I finish it, "Now that's why I read!" I appreciate books that take me out of my time period, my knowledge base and my comfort level. I enjoy learning about a place or time or people that I never knew existed before cracking open the covers. I like a historical novel that is human, with true emotions, a balance of life experiences - good and bad - that allows me to connect to the story on a human level, even if it is very far removed from my own life's journey.
Christopher Paul Curtis' new novel does all those things and more. Telling the tale of Buxton Settlement in Ontario, Canada, the first community of former slaves, through the eyes of the first boy child born there as a free man, is an inspired choice. Elijah, though black, is as innocent of the horrors of slavery as many readers will be - making his journey of discovery our journey as well.
There are wonderful moments of grace and moments of complete despair in this novel and Curtis handles them all with equal aplomb. A truly wonderful novel.