This book was on my mother’s shelf for a couple of years and I kept glancing at it wondering what was in the lengthy text. Finally while visiting herThis book was on my mother’s shelf for a couple of years and I kept glancing at it wondering what was in the lengthy text. Finally while visiting her house one day (and after my grandmother’s urging) I decided to read it. What a story! Someone Knows My Name is a story of humanity, the sins of slavery, incredible strength, love, and courage, the search for identity, longing and self-preservation.
The book is told in first person by Amanita Diallo who is 11 years old when she is captured and sold into slavery. Amanita, a proud and young girl, was just returning to her village with her mother when she was captured. Her mother fought for her child and herself till the end. From that moment on, Amanita describes so vividly every detail of what she experiences. Amanita has many gifts that keep her safe and protected throughout her life. At least more protected then other Africans in America. Her mother taught her how to deliver babies, a skill that would come in handy into her adulthood.
Amanita is enslaved, first in South Carolina on an indigo plantation where she survives the brutalities of slavery and becomes a young woman. Later in life, she ends up in New York on the heels of the Revolutionary War and because of her literacy, gets hired to become a scribe for the British. As part of her role, Amanita writes by hand, all of the black people who helped the British during the Revolutionary War and were therefore granted “freedom and an opportunity to start a new life” in Nova Scotia.
All 3000 of the names, men, women and children are recorded in a book called “The Book of Negroes”. I was not aware of this text and the history of these people who boarded boats off the docks of New York City after the Revolutionary war in search of a better life, lived in Nova Scotia and then later boarded more boats to settle in Sierra Leone. That is what I love about reading historical fiction; you are entertained while increasing your knowledge about history which I believe adds to one’s personal depth. It certainly adds to mine. I thank the author Lawrence Hill for writing a book about an aspect of history that I didn’t know through a story that was captivating and uplifting.
With recent movies such as 12 Years a Slave and Django Unchained there are some who feel they are tired of hearing about slavery. I do not share that sentiment at all. I read books and watch movies from all periods of history and feel that is important for developing a fuller perspective of the world. But there are actually many of us, especially descendants of the African Diaspora that would benefit from gaining a better understanding of what happened over that 400 year period. And there are a lot of stories to be told that are rich in history about the time period. As harsh as it is to face, slavery was a critical time in our history that has ramifications for our current standing in the world. We owe it to ourselves and our children to learn about our history. Historical fictional works such as this book are a great vehicle for doing so. ...more
I send my heartfelt thanks to Ms. Angelou for sharing her experiences of daughterhood and motherhood with us through Mom and Me and Mom. What an amaziI send my heartfelt thanks to Ms. Angelou for sharing her experiences of daughterhood and motherhood with us through Mom and Me and Mom. What an amazing life she has lived and is still living! I had read A Song Flung up to Heaven and Caged Bird but I learned more about her background and how she was shaped from having such a loving, fiery, smart mother.
When Maya was just a toddler her mother gave her and her brother up to be raised by her grandmother. They stayed with their grandmother for many years and when they were first reunited it took Maya sometime to embrace the woman who she would eventually call her mother. I was amused at how she called her “lady” while she was getting to know her. I am inspired by Maya’s ability to look at life and the choices we make from different sides and even as a young girl she followed her inner wisdom. And these were not boring women, I tell you, they had fun, they followed their passions, and forged new paths. Maya was hurt by her mother’s choice to give her and Bailey up but over time, she formed a tight bond with her mother that lasted a lifetime. Their relationship was an example of unconditional love. I am glad that she embraced forgiveness because she gained so much from having her mother and her mother's life was rich from the daughter she had. The ending had me in tears. This book is filled with so many life lessons. ...more
I enjoy reading memoirs and biographies particularly of women. Its fun and interesting to learn about them on a deeCalling all Vanessa Williams fans!
I enjoy reading memoirs and biographies particularly of women. Its fun and interesting to learn about them on a deeper level and find out the back stories behind their successes and how they overcame the adversity in their lives. I am a Vanessa Williams fan (Go team V!), I think she is an incredible actress, very talented and of course stunningly beautiful. What's great about this book is that you get two stories for the price of one, that is you learn about Vanessa and her mother, a strong, no-nonsense woman who does not bite her tongue.
It was interesting to hear about Vanessa's mothers upbringing and how that shaped her parenting style. I really enjoyed her parenting tips! I agree that music is a very important gift and exposing your children to the arts has many benefits. As a mother of three children, I am constantly collecting tips and various perspectives on parenting, especially from mothers who have raised well-adjusted and succesful children. I also can relate to Vanessa's philosophy on juggling career and children and that you do the best you can(no mommy guilt).
What I like about this book is Vanessa's honesty. She has, and is continuing to enjoy a full, rich and complex life. Yes she survived that scandal from the 80s but it didn't define her. A great lesson to women out there-even if you make the wrong choice when you are young it doesn't dictate how the rest of your life will be. You can overcome touch times. Plan, execute, keep the faith!
I was so sorry that her father died so suddenly. He sounded like a great man, husband and father.
This was a great book in my Summer of 2012 reading adventures!