Tells the account of a black woman named Aminata “Meena” Diallo from when she was captured as a young child in Africa, sold into slavery in South Carolina, escaped to Nova Scotia as a black Loyalist, and then returned to Sierra Leone with other freed slaves.
Winner of the 2009 Canada Reads Award, the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and the 2007 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.
At times I found the book slow and not very representative of the majority of slaves who had it much worse than Aminata did. Overall, though the book was beautifully written.
Borrow The Book of Negroes from your local VPL Library!
Top Three Similar Reads:
- Three Cups Of Tea, by Greg Mortenson
- The Glass Castle: A Memoir, by Jeannette Walls
- Water For Elephants, by Sara Gruen
Have you read The Book of Negroes yet? If so, what did you think?
I seldom read fiction as I am a very emotional person. I am afraid of crying in the staff lounge while I am reading and having lunch at the same time … but recently I can’t put this book down – I am struck by the middle east culture that used to seem so mysterious to me … I am moved by the noble father and son relationship, the loyal friendship, the betrayal, trust, and love …
If you’re looking for a book to read to in conjunction with Black History Month, than you couldn’t do better than Lawrence Hill’s “Someone knows my Name”. This was originally published as “The Book of Negroes” and in the summer it was quite hard to get your hands on a library copy. Now there are copies available in many VPL branches. This novel is really the ultimate Black History read, encompassing the story of the slave trade, middle passage, the Black Loyalists, the Nova Scotia and Sierra Leone settlements and the British Abolitionist movement.
Our fictional heroine Aminata Diallo when introduced is a young girl growing up in her West African village in 1745. She has been taught the rudiments of reading by her father and attends births with her mother, a midwife. This idyllic existence comes to an abrupt end with the advent of strangers stepping out of the bushes into the moonlight armed with “ropes, leather straps and knives”. The description of Aminata’s harrowing slave ship passage, her “sale” at an auction to an indigo farmer and other atrocities of the slave trade are related in a first person narrative that is engrossing and totally believable.
This thoroughly researched novel not only brings this sorry period of history to life but Hill also creates a heroine that readers can fully identify with. Through Aminata we experience all the horrors and few satisfactions that made up her story and also the stories of the millions whose lot was the life of an African slave. Due to some very realistic scenes of cruelty this is a book for adults and perhaps older teenagers.