Tuesday, October 20

An Amazing Read: The Book of Negroes

I have just finished reading The Book of Negroes by author Lawrence Hill, and it is an amazing journey...one that I will never forget.

The story begins in 1802, when Aminata Diallo begins to write the story of her life in London. The story takes us back to 1745 Africa in a little village called, Bayo. At that time, Aminata was eleven years old. Her father was a jeweler and her mother, a midwife...both of her parents were very respected in the village. Then, one day when she and her mother are returning from "catching a baby" in a nearby village, they are attacked by slavers. Her mother is killed and Aminata is captured. For three moons she walks with those who are shackled and wearing neck rings to the coast, where they are put aboard a slaving ship. Many are lost on the journey, but eventually they arrive in America. Aminata is sold and put to work on an indigo plantation on the sea islands of South Carolina.

Over the years Aminata survives by practicing her skills as a midwife and drawing on the strengths she inherited from both parents. However, she dreams of returning to her home in Africa. Instead, she is sent to Nova Scotia with the promise of freedom. Then, on to Sierra Leone, Africa where she realizes that her village probably no longer exists.

At the dawn of the nineteenth century, Aminata finds herself in England, telling her story and hoping to help abolishionist in their fight against slavery. It is here that she writes her life story.

The Book of Negroes introduces us to a woman who cuts a swath through a world that is hostile to both her colour and her gender. The author has transformed a neglected piece of history into a beautiful and brilliant engaging book of historical fiction.

Lawrence Hill has written several novels and works of non-fiction. He resides in Burlington, ON. The Book of Negroes tells the story of one woman's journey through life and her determination to be free. It is the winner of the Canada Reads Award for 2009.


  1. This sounds like an excellent book. Thanks for the review.

  2. Sounds good. I've seen it around, but you never know.

  3. You pretty well covered the book in your excellent review Mary. It seems to me I've read this before after I read your critique. Or a movie of similar on Lifetime or somewhere. But it had another title.

    This is one super post once again.

    I do hope your day is getting better...I just read your email and replied.

    Now, I'm gonna go take some time away from the computer. LOL....Been sitting so long here today, my ankles are swollen, and that's not good.

    Have a terrific evening.

  4. Hey girl...was on line and saw that you left a comment. I haven't been out and about either. My blogging everyday has turned into maybe once a week...maybe that will change sometime in the future.
    I am glad you stopped by....it gave me a chance to read this review. Sounds like a fantastic book...how interesting.
    How is your man doing? Hopefully ya'll all are avoiding the flu and yuck that is going around.
    Hopefully ya'll we being leaving the sinus stuff behind real soon.
    To bad that cold weather does kill the sickness bugs like it kills the mosquitoes. :)

  5. This certainly does sound like a very interesting book. One can't even imagine what these slaves went through but no doubt reading Aminata's story helps to understand. I really do need to get back into reading, I'm missing so many wonderful books out there!! xoxo

  6. I love historical fiction and this sounds like a good book. Thanks for the review.

  7. Heartbreaking to think of all that went on with the slaves. I'm adding this one to my list. It sounds really good. Great review once again.

  8. I must read that this winter.. I so love books on history of the Negro.. They have suffered much and it behooves us all to learn of our mistakes and avoid them at all cost...

  9. Sounds gripping!