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Someone Knows My Name
Lawrence Hill
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Someone Knows My Name

4.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  48,377 Ratings  ·  4,911 Reviews
"You feel you are turning the pages of history, the pages of truth." -Austin Clarke, author of The Polished HoeAbducted from Africa as a child and enslaved in South Carolina, Aminata Diallo thinks only of freedom-and of the knowledge she needs to get home. Sold to an indigo trader who recognizes her intelligence, Aminata is torn from her husband and child and thrown into t ...more
ebook, 512 pages
Published by W. W. Norton & Company (first published January 1st 2007)
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Popular Answered Questions

Hedel Torres If a grade 4 student is willing to read it, i'd say let them.
It's hard enough to get kids to read at all. It has some mature themes but I'm sure…more
If a grade 4 student is willing to read it, i'd say let them.
It's hard enough to get kids to read at all. It has some mature themes but I'm sure they've seen much worse in movies.
Since it's your student and not your child, might want to check with what you're allowed to say. I believe some parents are pretty strict on books.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Oct 05, 2009 Shannon (Giraffe Days) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: absolutely everyone
(International title: Someone Knows My Name)
It's 1802 and Aminata Diallo, now an old woman, sits down to write her life story at the request of the Abolitionists in London. Abducted from her village in West Africa at the age of eleven and marched in a coffle (a string of slaves) for three months before reaching the coast, Aminata survives the voyage to America and ends up sold to an indigo plantation owner in South Carolina. She describes herself as lucky, because compared to the tragic circumst
Raeleen Lemay
Jan 11, 2015 Raeleen Lemay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This is a book where the plot is centered around slavery, but the book isn't really about slavery. The story is really about a woman and the hardships she went through. Aminata was an incredible protagonist, and I wish more people could be like her.

It is a fantastic book, and I highly recommend that everyone read it! It has really made me want to pick up more books that focus specifically on different cultures, as it really opened my eyes to how brutal some parts of the world were (and still are
Giselle (Book Nerd Canada)
Abducted by slave traders as a young child, Aminata is a survivor. She is taken so far from home that her ultimate vow is to get back. This is her powerful story that will make you laugh, tear and jump for joy all at the same time. Powerful. Moving. Memorable. The Book of Negroes will stay with you long after you have read it.

I couldn't put this one down. I know it seems like such a daunting read and the font is tiny, but trust me, you'll fly through this. There are times it's heart-breaking, so
Dec 18, 2014 Rowena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rowena by: Maxine
This is definitely the best book I read in 2011 and one I will remember for a long time. Aminata Diallo is such a powerful character, a woman who had to deal with so much in her life but came out with a small victory in the end. Slavery is something we all know about but it's very rare we really think about what the slaves went through, and how they were forced to adopt to a new culture and life separated from their family and homeland.Lawrence Hill did exceptional work on this book.

I felt a whole range of emotions when reading this book. I can't even form a complete review to give Hill's novel justice. However, I will say that this is the type of book that demands to be read and more importantly, to reach a vast readership. It demands that you sit down and put your WHOLE heart into reading this novel. I say this because the story within this book's covers doesn't fully release the reader until they have hit the last page and every
Oct 20, 2009 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
My expectations were set really high for this one. It sat proudly at the top of my to-read pile with an imposing 4.40 average across close to 1400 ratings.

Now, I'm not one of those dinks who look to read popular novels (see Da Vinci Code pinheads) just so they can turn their haughty noses up on them and knock down averages), but I'm afraid my rating will knock this average down just a notch. Not because I'm a pinhead, but because
The Book of Negroes lacks what I need in a novel.

Time and again, wh

Update (2):
This just in from BOOK NEWS -
"Lawrence Hill's bestselling novel The Book of Negroes is set to be adapted for film thanks to a chance meeting in a Toronto bookstore."

"The Book of Negroes" by Lawrence Hill tops books list for the week ending June 16, 2009

Larry's extensive research and plain great story-telling are only two of the reasons why it was Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize; the winner of The Rogers Writers' Tru
Feb 21, 2016 ☮Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Aminata, stolen from her homeland in Africa and taken into slavery in America on the cusp of the Revolutionary War. Just heart wrenching what she endured, and she was actually one of the lucky ones. Known as Mina, she easily learned languagesand how to read, which helped her survive from one owner to the next, from one town to the next, from one country to the next, and from one continent to the next. All she wanted was to have a family and to some day return to her homeland ...more
Precious Williams
Mar 28, 2010 Precious Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves a dramatic story
I chanced upon this novel in a rather random way. I was invited to discuss my own forthcoming book at a book club and the book club were reading The Book of Negroes for March. I'd heard of the novel but didn't have immediate plans to read it. In the end I read the entire huge tome (it's about 500 pages) in just two or three days. I actually could not stop reading it.

I learnt a lot from this book. I learned a lot about my own family history. I am half Sierra Leonean and the Sierra Leonean half o
My family is anti conditions-of-blacks-in-the-American-south type of literature. I was taught to avoid being "one of those black people who obsess over slavery" and focus on our future. Being born in Canada and growing up in an East African/West Indian family, there was a belief that the American slave experience was somehow not "our" experience. With that said, the only reason I read this book is because the author is from Canada. Shallow, but true.

The story is told in retrospect through the e
Mar 27, 2009 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found it absorbing; I found it readable. I wanted to like it more than I actually did. If any of Horatio Alger's characters had been born African and sold into slavery, Aminita Diallo might be its preincarnation. It's hard to say that any slave is fortunate, yet Aminita, compared to those around her, keeps drawing to an inside straight only to be dealt the right card. Hollywood should love it. Maybe plausibility is not the most important element in historical fiction. The story "feels good" fr ...more
Aug 11, 2016 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There isn't enough space to fill all the accolades Lawrence Hill deserves with Someone Knows My Name!! Captivating in every way with a story line that grabs you from the first sentence and ends with you thinking....Awesome!! A book I won't forget and one that is a on my top, top favorites!!!
Wilhelmina Jenkins
What an amazing book! The protagonist is spectacular - I don't think that I have ever identified so completely with a character in slavery. The author incorporates historical events which were new to me - always a plus. The story was so compelling and so true to human behavior. No group was all good or all bad, just human. I am just dazzled by this superb work.
Feb 08, 2016 Elyse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I never rated this book.

Iris if you are reading this, Lisi and I both read this together years ago.
It's soooo gripping. Possible to put down... sooooo heartbreaking.

The author, Lawrence Hill, has a new book our...( I'm in the middle of hiking -audiobook listening to another book...stopped to use the girls room- check mail -- and just discover his new book.
It's called "The Illegal"....

But I can't recommend this book highly enough. Warning'll be 'spent' when finishe
Sep 22, 2008 Lesliemae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who love a strong female protagonist
Recommended to Lesliemae by: G.E. Clarke
I think this box is not large enough to encompass what I learned from this book. I learned about the slave trade in Canada, I learned about Loyalists coming into Nova Scotia in hopes of land and freedom and finding only disillusion, disappointment, and segregation. This tale follows Aminata Diallo from Africa to South Carolina to New York City, to Birchtown, Nova Scotia to Seirra Leone to London, England. By the end of the novel I was so invested in Aminata's story that I was moved and cried thr ...more
Using the historical "Book of Negroes" as a component, Lawrence Hill has created a sweeping picture of the African slave trade through the life of one woman, Aminatta Diallo. We follow her from her days with her family in the village of Bayo in an unknown country of Africa, to her kidnapping, travel on a slave ship, and arrival in the new world. The details of that voyage leave very little to the imagination. There she follows the path of many others in being victimized, occasionally befriended, ...more
Jan 29, 2012 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Becky by: Historical Fictionistas
I've wanted to read this book for a long time, so when it was chosen as a group read in my Historical Fiction group, I jumped at the chance to push it to the top of my list. And I'm very glad that I did.

Aminata Diallo was pulled from her home in Africa at 11, forced to walk 3 months to the coast, crossed the Atlantic on a slave ship, and then was sold into slavery. From there, her story veers off in unexpected directions, and I found myself fascinated and completely wrapped up in her life and a
Dec 04, 2009 Eastofoz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers who question "history"
Shelves: fiction
This was a quite a surprise read. At first I was expecting something along the lines of Alex Haley’s Roots but it doesn’t have the same quick pace and gut wrenching scenes, it did however prove to be an eye opener with a strong story overall.

Told in the first person and mostly through narration (two writing styles I normally dislike), the story comes to life from beginning to end which shows how talented a writer Lawrence Hill is. Even though it was told in the first person the reader can still
Jun 02, 2016 Nea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Nea by: Komesia
This book is very well written and an easy read. I enjoyed learning about the Black Loyalists and their struggles, which spanned nations and continents. Unlike Roots, the heroic figure in The Book of Negroes is female and the entire novel is told from her perspective. That's what drew me to the book, but there were flaws in delivery.

The female character's depth (as a woman, not just as a captive) was limited by the understanding of the male author; so I was frequently aware of his narrative pre
Susan G
I am sorry to report I was disappointed in this book. I was excited to read about the Black Loyalists of Nova Scotia. But there wasn't enough about that; most of the book was devoted to Aminata's kidnapping, passage, and slave days. Nothing wrong with that, but when he finally got around to the less familiar topics, he seemed to run out of gas.

What bothered me more, though, was the mediocre writing (and editing). There were just too many inconsistencies (why isn't she unfamiliar with cities and
N W James
There isn't a lot to say about this book. It was an excellent summer read: well-paced, engrossing, well written. Not a one of us disliked the book. Reading it, to me, felt like story time in elementary school. You know, you'd be excited to hear the next part of the plot and while it was being read to you it utilized all of your senses. Your childhood naivete allows you to accept all characters and plot lines as truth.

The problem with a great story like that is it doesn't make for a good book gr
Apr 24, 2013 Noeleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Someone Knows My Name is a very well written fictional account about the early days of slavery in America. It tells the story of Aminata, a child born in Africa, who is captured and taken from her homeland and brought to America as a slave. Yearning to get back to her homeland, Aminata’s strong determination, strength of mind and intelligence enables her to cope with the events she experiences on her travels. Aminata is indeed a strong and courageous female protagonist and is central to the othe ...more
Mar 29, 2011 K rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K by: TABBIEs book club
Lost interest, unfortunately. Thin characterization (the main character is beautiful, smart, resourceful, gutsy, charming, and not particularly accessible to the reader), stereotypes (of course the African mother was a midwife), cliches (of course the parents had fallen in love despite being from different tribes), anachronisms (yet another daughter learning to read despite the times), depression (if you ever doubted that it sucks to be kidnapped for slavery, this book will set you straight), et ...more
Jun 21, 2009 Shelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished-in-2009, own
I love male authors who can write a convincing female lead in their novels. Lawrence Hill's Aminata Diallo is a strong, lucky, fierce woman and I really enjoyed reading her life story.

The writing itself flows so easily that falling into the story and just getting lost in it was super easy. The story itself was in turns shocking, heartbreaking and uplifting.

I am glad I sat down and fell into this book, it was worth every minute.
Dec 21, 2014 Dominique rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've ever read. It was tough but Lawrence Hill did a great job writting a book about slavery.
Hailey (HailsHeartsNyc)
What an incredibly beautiful story
Friederike Knabe
Hearing your own name spoken in public isn't usually something significant. Yet, on a slave trading ship that transported up to a thousand Africans to North America, this act of public acknowledgement was momentous. Calling out their full names to each other was equal to "affirming their humanity". In the early mornings from the bowels of the vessel the chanting voices represented not only an important ritual of recognition and respect, it was also a way of finding out who had made it through th ...more
Mar 07, 2009 Gail rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Book of Negroes is a novel that should be sung, rather than read. It is a song of worship, in praise of the taste of an orange, the smell of a newborn; and it is a lament to the horrors we are capable of inflicting on each other, no matter what the colour of our skin. But above all else it is a love song urging us to celebrate our romance with our own dear humanity. "Ba means river," Lawrence Hills' powerful character Aminata writes in The Book of Negroes . "It also means mother." When I fin ...more
Jun 16, 2012 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In general, I prefer finely written, taut, compact literary novels to big sprawling ones. I had to get past that in order to appreciate this book. I certainly learned a lot. It was a riveting, even if sometimes not quite believable, plot. I feel that the writer really did his research. But I also felt as if he was never going to let me forget it. He was going to move his characters through an arc that would make me learn everything that he’d learned or die trying. So while it was all very intere ...more
Feb 19, 2009 jo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to jo by: eccentric muse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
as best as i can judge, lawrence hill reproduces here the style and tone of the classic slave narratives, which he also credits at the end (in particular, he directs to reader to The Classic Slave Narratives collected by henry louis gates in one volume that includes olaudah equiano's, mary prince's, frederick douglass', and harriets jacobs' autobiographies). i have taught a couple of slave narratives (douglass and jacobs) and i must say it was a labor of love, because, well, because they sound d ...more
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Lawrence Hill is a journalist and novelist.

His third novel, published as The Book of Negroes in Canada and Someone Knows My Name elsewhere, won the 2008 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book and the 2007 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.
More about Lawrence Hill...

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“To gaze into another persons face is to do two things: to recognise their humanity and to assert your own.” 103 likes
“You must learn to respect," Papa said.

But I do not respect her," I said.

Papa paused for a moment, and patted my leg. "Then you must learn to hide your disrespect.”
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