Jewish history is certainly rife with brutality, but such cruelty has not been uniquely faced by Jews. Indeed, the African slaves in A Cage Without Bars are treated as wretchedly as the Jewish children with whom they share a hard and hopeless life, in this novel based on the true story of enslaved Spanish Jewish children on the island of São Tomé.
The reader follows the harrowing adventures of twelve-year-old Joseph and his younger sister, Gracia, who are suddenly and brutally separated from their family after having escaped the Spanish Inquisition. The well-developed characters feel very real. Although the book is explicit about the suffering these children and others endured, the excellent writing makes the book accessible to children, and the ending offers cause for muted optimism.
The book contains a glossary as well as a list for further reading and viewing.
Award-winning journalist and freelance writer, Helen Weiss Pincus, has taught memoir writing and creative writing throughout the NY Metro area to senior citizens and high school students. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Record, The Jewish Standard, and other publications. She recently added “Bubby” to her job description.