Day 21 – The Book of Negroes

18 Jul

The Book of Negroes is awesome! Ha ha, okay, I can come up with a more descriptive word. How about ‘fantastic’ or ‘epic’? Just kidding. I have been thoroughly enjoying reading The Book of Negroes. It’s the kind of historical fiction novel that I love to read because the author portrays the protagonist in such a realistic way that I can put myself in her spot and almost experience her life with her.

One of my students read The Book of Negroes and did a book talk on it. That’s when I knew I wanted to read it. I got it for my dad for Christmas the year before last, but I don’t think he read it. Mom read it, so I knew I could borrow it from them. It was the Canada Reads book for 2009. I think I’ll read along with the Canada Reads books from now on.

It is the story of Aminata Diallo, and how she was stolen into slavery and ended up in Nova Scotia. It was also published under another title, Someone Knows My Name. I’m not going to give much away, because if you haven’t read The Book of Negroes, you must. I rank it up there with Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth and James Patterson’s The Jester. These are the books I love, so if you know of more like it, I’d love a recommendation.

I love how Aminata, the main character, describes her reading experience:

“Reading felt like a daytime dream in a secret land. Nobody but I knew how to get there, and nobody but I owned that place… soon I felt that I could not do without them [books]. And I lived in hope that one day I would find a book that answered my questions.” (pg. 165)

In another spot she describes her experience in church, an Anglican church, but really any of us could have had this experience in almost any church that seems to have lost its zeal. I laughed aloud and reread this to my father, who I knew would appreciate this:

“The people of Great Britain and other seafaring nations have devised unspeakable punishments for the children of Ham, but in that moment and in that time, none seemed worse than their own self-inflicted torture: to sit, unmoving but forbidden to sleep, in a cavernous room with arching stone and forbidden windows while a small man adopted a monotone for the better part of a villainous hour.” (pg. 234-235)

This is one of those books that I’ve been putting off reading the last 75 pages because I don’t want it to end. Hopefully, there will be a movie that is, of course, never as good as the book.

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One Response to “Day 21 – The Book of Negroes”

  1. pattipeppermint July 18, 2011 at 11:29 PM #

    I have had the book for over a year and started it, but had trouble becoming absorbed in it so I put it away. I think now I will have to get it back out and make another attempt to read it. and maybe, I might have to pull out the Hobbit and make an attempt to read that. I have been trying to read it for more then 35 years. One day I plan to be successful in getting past the first few chapters.

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