Review – Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim
Laila Ibrahim’s Yellow Crocus is the first book in the Yellow Crocus trilogy. It is yet another take on what life was like during the antebellum South. It is the story of the love shared between two lost souls, Mattie, the black wet-nurse who has no choice but to leave her own child and take care of her white mistress’s baby; and Lisbeth, the baby Mattie ends up caring for and loving for many years.
Yellow Crocus presents two very different takes on motherhood, depicting the mindset of the era perfectly. Lisbeth’s mother, Anne represents privilege and the idea that breastfeeding one’s own baby is a menial task – an idea that subsequently leads to an emotional detachment between mother and child. Mattie’s character represents pure motherly love, where hugs, kind words, laughter and songs are shared, leading to a relationship that neither time nor distance can ever break.
“Mattie was never truly mine. That knowledge must have filled me as quickly and surely as the milk from her breasts. Although my family “owned” her, although she occupied the center of my universe”
Reading about how Mattie is constantly torn between her love for Lisbeth and her own children is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.
I have read many books about slavery in the American South and I have to say, Laila Ibrahim’s Yellow Crocus is the first one that truly left me with a heart full of joy. I can barely wait to start reading Mustard Seed, the next book in the series. Yellow Crocus made me cry, made me smile and just generally made me feel all kinds of things. I think that is because ultimately it tells the story of two people whose love for each other transcends race. The colour of their skin gives the pretext for the story, but Ibrahim brilliantly manages to make the reader forget about the difference in social status between these two characters.
“As far as I concerned, God loves ever’body so God forgives ever’body so ever’body gonna get to heaven.”
In a world that is full of so much hatred and judgement even today, I recommend reading Laila Ibrahim’s Yellow Crocus because it is a reminder that we all need someone to feel truly connected to, no matter where we come from, who we are. I can’t really tell you much about this book because this isn’t a novel to tear apart and analyze to exhaustion. It is a beautiful novel that has to be felt and lived.
“As she nestled against Mattie’s breast, the baby’s deep-blue eyes gazed intently into Mattie’s dark-caramel irises. Her pink fingers patted and stroked soft brown skin. She grinned up at Mattie, causing milk to dribble out the sides of her mouth. “Silly girl,” Mattie admonished the baby, tickling and teasing her. “You gotta pick: eatin’ or smilin’.”
Obviously, Yellow Crocus deserves a Five Fox rating for all of the reasons mentioned above. 🦊🦊🦊🦊🦊
Questions to Ponder
I know I said we shouldn’t tear this beautiful novel apart but I do want to know what feelings came up as you read Yellow Crocus.
How did the relationship between Lisbeth and her own mother make you feel? It is something that could be very interesting to explore.
What do you think about the title? What does the yellow crocus represent in the novel?
During one of their conversations, Lisbeth tells Matthew that she is happy she was born in America because she has freedom. What do you think about her freedom? Is she really free of what society expects of her?
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Let me know if you liked my review of Yellow Crocus in the comments below and don’t forget to check out some of my other book reviews as well.
Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad also tackles the topics of race and slavery in the South.
Browse my Book Club page to read my reviews about the books I’m reading.
Also, if you decide to pick this book up, I recommend you read it alongside this beautiful playlist by Chill Pill Station:
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