As most of you have probably noticed, for the past year or so, I’ve been studying the witch in literature and film. I’ve come across some truly wonderful gems, and while I had heard about this book specifically a while ago, but it wasn’t until I was offered the opportunity to teach a class next semester strictly focusing on witches in literature that I allowed myself to streamline this to the top of my TBR pile. Needless to say, I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem by Maryse Conde quickly grew to be one of my favorite books and I’m kicking myself for waiting this long to read it.
What I love about Conde’s vision here is the truth. So often when we learn about what happened in Salem, we hear about a black witch from the West Indies who most likely practiced hoodoo, and sure while Tituba does check those boxes, she is so much more than her race, her spiritual beliefs, and her geographical location. This book is a beautiful venture into historical fiction that talks about a woman scarred by one of history’s greatest atrocities: the witch hunt. Conde discusses race, slavery, ancestry, familial relationships, sex, love, and power in a book that had me sobbing at the end. My heart breaks for Tituba, for everything she’s been through, for all the pain and injustice she had to live through in her life, and I’m so gratefully to Conde for taking the time to research and write her story.
The world needed to hear Tituba’s voice, and this book is a great honor to a witch and a woman who died too soon but lived fiercely and passionately, forever fighting and helping all those she came in contact with. She challenged our view and perception of the witch, and her story will likely force you to uncover your own bias and prejudice with witchcraft, too. I can’t recommend this book enough, and if you’re interested in history, witchcraft, historical fiction, and/or race and gender studies, this is definitely a book you want to add to the top of your TBR list.
I rate this book 5 out of 5 hexes.