The Day I Saw the Hummingbird follows the adventures and life of Oscar, a young, black, slave in the heartlands of Louisiana around the time of the Civil War. Oscar and his mother dream of freedom and a life of dignity and learning, but when Oscar's mother is brutally beaten at the hands of a drunken and violent overseer, it is time for the then nine-year-old Oscar to leave and seek the famous "underground railway" to the North and to freedom. Mahurin captures beautifully the times and the attitudes of the South in those days. Her descriptions of the trials and tribulations faced by the young man and the angst and pain he suffers, internally, at the treatment of his people, just because their skin is a different colour, is both moving and heartfelt. One couldn't help but be drawn into Oscar's world and feel the horrors faced by just a little boy and the courage required to survive on that long and arduous journey.
The book is written from the perspective of an elderly Oscar, in 1910, looking back at those times and reflecting, sadly, that in many ways, certainly in the South, little had changed since he'd made the long journey. One could even extrapolate and say in 2017, some things still haven't changed in the South of the United States. I know there has been some controversy in recent times about only "African Americans" can tell the "African American Story". Whilst I can respect some of the sentiment behind those thoughts, I am glad that Mahurin and others do not subscribe to this theory. As writers we must push the boundaries of our cultural and socio-economic experiences and embrace the pain and suffering of all humanity and point out injustice where we see it. It is what we do! And Mahurin does it superbly. Pain, suffering, injustice, love, friendship and all of the other myriad of human emotions do not belong to and are not confined or identifiable to a particular culture, but are shared across all of humanity and are what binds us together and makes us one race - the Human Race.
I applaud Mahurin for having the courage to write this wonderful story and as always I finish one of her books satisfied and full of thought and follow-up questions. A writer who can do this for a reader is to be celebrated and I place Paulette Mahurin right up there among the very best indie authors (or indeed any authors) out there. There was never any question of my rating for this book - 5+ superb stars all the way.