This wasn’t an easy book to read. Slavery in South Africa isn’t any more pleasant than slavery in the American south. What makes this book bearable is the indomitable spirit of the title character. Catching the eye of the son of the family that owns her, Philida bears him four children. Beaten, enslaved, she refuses to give in to despair, even when sold to the harsh north to pay the debts of the family that owns her. Wherever she finds herself, she make friends and is always her own person.
This book is far from the torture porn that many slave accounts degenerate into. Philida is a remarkable person, self-contained and opinionated. When liberation comes, she is ready for it because she has always been free in her spirit.