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The House of Dies Drear

The House of Dies Drear - Virginia Hamilton When I added The House of Dies Drear to my to-read shelf I didn't realize this was a young adult book. I didn't realize this until I had to go into the juvenile section at the library in order to find it.

As young adult books go, I liked this one. The story was intriguing, and it was a moderately sinister/suspenseful tale. I would have liked that aspect to have gone a bit further, to have been a little more "full on" (which I suspect it would have done if this book had been written today), but the mysteriousness was enough to keep me hooked.

What interested me about this book is that it revealed little tidbits about African-American history in Ohio. I didn't know Ohio figured so much in African-American history, and this book opened a lot of doors for me. I recently learned that my 5th great grandfather was a freed African-American slave. Despite having been enslaved in Virginia, he ultimately settled in Ohio, and I've often wondered what would have driven him to settle in a state that was so far away from the place he knew. The House of Dies Drear taught me that the significance of Ohio to American slaves ran deeper than I perhaps knew or ever realized. While I enjoyed The House of Dies Drear as a story, I really appreciated it because it made me aware of my ignorance. This book showed me that in order to find answers about my 5th great grandfather, I need to find answers about Ohio and African-American history. In order to know why he left the places he knew as a slave, I have to understand the significance of the place he chose to go as a free man.