Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

5 Star

Kidnapped near her village in West Africa when only eleven years old, Aminata Diallo is sold into slavery and transported to America on a death ship, witnessing every possible horror as she survives the treacherous voyage. Put to work on a plantation in South Carolina, she survives through her strength and midwifery skills. She eventually has the opportunity to sign her name in 'The Book of Negroes', a historic military ledger that allowed the passage of 3,000 Black Loyalists on ships traveling from Manhattan to Nova Scotia.

Lydia - 5 Star

I absolutely loved this book and it might just make it on my Top 10 List. I got so absorbed in The Book of Negroes that I read it in three days even after slowing down my usual speed reading so as not to miss anything.

I loved Aminata who captured me from the very beginning of this harrowing tale and at times I had to remind myself that this was not an autobiography but a work of fiction. I was amazed at how well Lawrence Hill wrote from a woman’s perspective, and marveled at the attention to detail and wondered more than once during my reading about the research that went into this work. Because of this, I really appreciated the ‘word about history’ regarding the research and the acknowledgments found at the end of the novel.

The Book of Negroes was a joy to read even with the tough subject matter and was full of rich historical description, but I never became bored because of this as I do with some other novels. I was fascinated by so much of it including the midwifery and all the herbal remedies used along with many of the other historical details.

I would recommend The Book of Negroes to anyone and everyone and it probably should be read by all. This book definitely gets 5 stars! It maybe even deserves more of them!

Kathryn - 5 Star

I read every word of this work of fiction. From the dedication to the acknowledgements, I read everything.

The Book of Negroes is the personal account of the life of Aminata Diallo, a young girl of 11 who is taken from her village in Africa and sold into slavery. Her path crosses oceans and we follow her every step- from her village of Bayo near Segu to her final home in London, England. Her life, from the moment she is taken, pulls you into her pain completely.

A few years ago I was lucky enough to travel to Senegal and Mali with my mother and sister and have seen Segu and Timbuktu in present day Mali. We also visited the Island of GorĂ©e (off Dakar, Senegal) where many many slaves were kept in tiny, cramped rooms only a few feet tall. Many slave ships were launched from this island and the experience was overwhelming for us. Reading Aminata’s story brought me back to that feeling of despair.

I think I loved this because the author really created someone I believed in from the very first chapter. A work of fiction where the protagonist is someone you really think is real is very special. I wanted to protect her and defend her and was very angry and very sad reading parts of the story. Creating this physical a reaction from the written word means a very talented author.

Connect with Lawrence Hill:

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...