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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book Review: Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill

What is the advice I receive most often from attending writer’s workshops and author conferences?   READ!  If you want to be a writer, you’ve got to be a reader.  Reading is a luxury rarely found at home, but available at the gym.  They call me the treadmill reader.  I prop my book up and start to read.  It makes my workouts fly by and I can get through the piles of books I’ve collected from thrift stores.

Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill; a book so eloquently written I felt like I was there and there were times I didn’t want to be.
11 year-old Aminata Diallo is young girl who loves her parents and the rituals of her tribal African homeland.  She picks mangos while her dad tells stories and helps her mother deliver babies as a midwife, but in 1745 Aminata’s parents are killed and she is kidnapped by brutal men. 

Aminata, along with hundreds from her village and thousand from neighboring communities are taken as slaves, dragged across the ruff terrain to the boarding ships headed for America.  A novel written about the horrific accounts of slavery, Someone Knows My Name opened my eyes to the horrors of a little girl left to defend herself and learn the customs of an unjust land.

Truthful and poignant, the scene that most stands out is when Aminata, now a young woman, bravely delivers her own child; a son.  Finally a family, someone she can love and call her own when several weeks after his birth, he is stolen from her in the night.  Her screams and heartache are ignored when she finds out her infant was sold at a slave auction.  She is a person treated as a nobody; she is a girl with a name no one knows.  Someone Knows My Name is a book of fiction filled with truthful history that should never be forgotten.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to get out of their comfort zone and consider the oppression that still exists for so many of our brothers and sisters. 

Aminata is a fighter, a lover and a reader.  She holds onto memories like precious jewels and never forgets the love of her parents; this is what gets her through when no one knows her name.  

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