Book review: Sana Butler’s Sugar of the Crop

Sugar of the crop

Sana Butler’s Sugar of the Crop: My Journey to Find the Children of Slaves could have been a fascinating book. Unfortunately, that’s not the book Butler has written. Instead, she’s crafted yet another entry in the solipsistic, poorly written Ode to Myself genre. It’s so bad that it borders on parody of the autobiographical form. As I point out in my review for Jackson Free Press, “the story of the generation of black Americans that emerged just after slavery ended should make for one of the country’s most enriching narratives. These direct descendants, who grew up as Jim Crow segregation laws were first implemented, could reveal plenty about how America came to be, and how it was.”

Instead, these children are mere springboards for Butler’s self-discovery; they’re afterthoughts in their own stories. It’s inexcusable, especially given the circumstances of the people discussed, and I don’t think my hatred of the book comes across as forcefully as it should have. See what you think here.

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Atlanta, GA. He is the co-author (with Daniel Couch) of Bob Mould's Workbook (Bloomsbury, 2017). His work has been published in The Quarterly Conversation,, Bookslut (RIP), The Comics Journal, The Baseball Chronicle, and other periodicals. Twitter: @walter_biggins.
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2 Responses to Book review: Sana Butler’s Sugar of the Crop

  1. Tammie Chute says:

    …having been the great-great grandaughter of Melrose Plantation owners and Georgia Plantation owners in Labadieville La, and also being one of the youngest ‘cousins’ born to the last generation on the plantation, and being born and raised in Ohio….
    I asked many a question and sucked many bar of soap.
    I was the younger one, so I spoke up loud and louder when I thought nobody heard my questions.
    I inocently drank from the wrong water fountain while my cousins laughed. I was 5 and had not learned to read ‘COLORED ONLY’, nor would I have understood.
    To Sana Butler I would like to say: Well done Sug, well done. Thank you for hearing my heart though we have never spoke, though we live in different worlds. May the entire world begin to see the SUG in each other and soon and to hear the stories of our yesterdays. God bless you Sana.

  2. Wendy says:

    No that is not true this book is amazing in every single way … And you critics are very misleading

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