Please note that the book has a co-author: Michelle Burford. Diane Guerrero is still rather young; sThis falls somewhere between three or four stars.
Please note that the book has a co-author: Michelle Burford. Diane Guerrero is still rather young; she is born July 21, 1986. She is primarily an actress, not an author. It is to her credit that she saw the need for a co-author. She is writing this book to bring attention to the plight of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Definitely a worthy goal.
The author's youth is evident in the language used by the author. On one hand her exuberance is charming and yet at times the swearing and the hip choice of words simply come across as immature. However, I am willing to dismiss this immaturity, reasoning that this is a book about her life and she is telling us how she has experienced the events. Maybe she simply cannot tell it any other way, and she is only thirty. Still, I am not quite sure a thirty-year-old should sound this way.
The book covers three central topics - the deportation of her parents when she was only fourteen, her path toward psychological maturity with focus upon her relationships with her parents and finally her acting career. Of course all three motifs blend. The author is very honest when analyzing her own behavior and decisions. The traumatic disappearance of her parents and the total absence of family from such a young age have had psychological consequences. Fortunately she did eventually receive psychological guidance. Today she is a motivated woman fighting for immigration reforms, feminism, environmental awareness and political activism. She voices her opposition to Trump. With reference to her own past difficulties, she asks if pain has a purpose and replies, "It can if we give it one."
So in the final analysis while at times the writing feels immature, her maturity shines through too. The two jar against each other somehow. Are we seeing a contrast between the lines of Diane Guerrero and the co-author Michelle Burford? Perhaps.
The parts about her acting career shower praise on those she is working with and stress the importance of these projects - the series Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin. Here the absolute honesty revealed in the earlier discussion of family relationships is lacking. What other alternative does she have? She cannot criticize her current employers and colleagues. These portions satisfied me least, but will probably be gulped up by aspiring young actresses. It is particularly in these sections that the author sounds so terribly immature.
Diane narrates her own audiobook. She sounds young. OK, she is still young, but at the same time she here seems to be directing her voice toward a younger audience. Yelps and screams are difficult to render well in the audio format. You have to recognize a scream but not sound too screechy. Here you jump. At times her voice drones on, but on the whole it is her exuberance that is too inflated. The audiobook has accompanying PDF files with family photos. Don't miss them!
The question addressed is important – better rights for undocumented immigrants. The honest revelations about the author’s feelings toward her parents are moving and intelligent. Yet the book feels as though it was written primarily for young people, and that is not me. ...more
I like this book so much because it wonderfully portrays how life is a battle for young and old and the in-between, for all of us. The characters in tI like this book so much because it wonderfully portrays how life is a battle for young and old and the in-between, for all of us. The characters in the book are each fighting different battles, from the youngest of only four caught in a trap, losing a father, missing a brother and confused by the general state of the world around him, to an elderly telegrapher who cannot bear the consequences of war in his hometown (Ithaca, San Joaquin Valley, California) or for that matter the general state of the world, war 1942. Neither understands the incomprehensibility of life. Each battle is as important as the other. I saw and understood ALL the characters’ personal battles. Some die. Some falter. Some are strong. Just as in real life. In this book you see everyone’s battle, and I liked that very much.
The common battle, that which the characters and we are all fighting, is our attempt to make sense of the craziness of the world we live in. Look at the title: The Human Comedy! We struggle; we try to reach understanding of a world that is not understandable. It is this that is the human comedy.
There is a lot in this story that probably would not happen; for this reason alone I shouldn’t like it as much as I do.
Faith is an integral part of the story. I would love to have faith, but I don’t. This could have been a stumbling block for my appreciation of the story, but because faith is not shoved upon the reader it is not a problem either.
I loved that each individual’s battle felt real, vital and worthy of battle. A four-year- old’s, a fourteen-year-old’s, a half-wit’s, a soldier’s, the town’s ancient history teacher’s. I saw kindness, and I saw meanness.
The audiobook narration is by Meg Ryan. I discovered that this story has just this month, September 2016, come out as a new film entitled Ithaca . Meg Ryan both directs and acts in the film. Her diverse intonations did not work for me, but she is easy to follow. The audiobook narration is not bad.
I have read that the novel has autobiographical content, but I don’t know more than that. Neither do I understand what the author was trying to say by taking names and places from Homer’s Odyssey. Is it the draw of home? But what is “home”? Is it necessarily a place or is it more than that? Is it our need to believe in goodness and truth and kindness, the things we often associate with our earliest childhood and home? I am not sure. ...more
This was impressive. It is one of those books you start and think you should dump .....then slowly, bit by bit, you find yourself liking it more and mThis was impressive. It is one of those books you start and think you should dump .....then slowly, bit by bit, you find yourself liking it more and more. I recommend this book, but who is it for? It is for a reader interested in cultural differences. This is about an immigrant Chinese American family. The author's father immigrated to the US. She was born in the US in 1922. It is an autobiography of the first 24 years of her life. She is an impressive woman – here check out this snapshot: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show.... It takes you through the Depression and WW2. The central theme portrays with clarity an inside view of a Chinese family living in the US. In San Francisco’s Chinatown. A Chinese family that starts out as Chinese in thought, tradition and customs as you can get. You watch as they acclimatize to their new surroundings. The process is infinitesimally slow for her parents, faster for the daughter born and raised in the States. What is it like to be caught in two different worlds? I adored learning about the Chinese traditions at the same time as I was horrified by some antiquated beliefs. You end up seeing both he good and the bad of both the American and the Chinese culture. You watch a family find a middle road. You follow the author to the point where she is able to appreciate both her own heritage and the opportunities afforded by American life. Extremely satisfying. She becomes a (view spoiler)[writer and a pottery craftsman with a shop of her own (hide spoiler)].
- I particularly loved watching how her father and finally her mother changed. -I particularly enjoyed learning about Chinatown in San Francisco. I loved stepping inside shops - a watchmaker's, a cobbler’s. My all-time favorite was inside a Chinese herbalist store.
The beginning is extremely simplistic. I thought I had picked up a child's book. Don‘t be deterred.
The audiobook narration by Andi Arndt was very good. Easy to follow. That is all I want form an audiobook narration. ...more
Well, I can say one thing - I was about to dump this because it so pulled me apart. I felt I couldn't stand being so emotionally torHaving just begun:
Well, I can say one thing - I was about to dump this because it so pulled me apart. I felt I couldn't stand being so emotionally torn. Then it flipped and had me smiling and laughing. So of course I continue. This is what I want from a book. I want to feel and I want to think and I want to be happy and sad.
OK, now I have probably jinxed the book by saying I like it a lot....
I continued to enjoy this book to the very end, and I liked the ending. Happy? Sad? I am not going to say.
So what happens in this novel? A black woman just shy of 40 years returns to her homeland to discover that her mother has breast cancer. There is a lot to think about - relationships between daughter and mother and father and between spouses, adultery, race, colonialism and culture or what makes you drawn to a particular place. What makes a place feel safe? What makes home home? And of course illness and mortality. The book provides food for thought.
The reason why I liked the book so much was that the issues delved into were portrayed both realistically and with feeling. How is it that mothers and daughters constantly bicker and taunt and compete and challenge each other? Yet there is love too. Look what husbands and wives do to each other. The dialogs felt genuine. How is the line drawn between modesty, privacy and intimacy? Between independence, self-sufficiency and helping someone. The book is all about how we relate to other human beings, as part of a family, part of a community, as an immigrant in a new country or as an employer to an employee, across race, class and geographical boundaries.
I believe the book is set in Trinidad, although this is not stated. This is where the author is from and as the island is described it just had to be this Caribbean island, oil in the south and mountains in the north. Beautiful lines that capture emotions, behavior and scenery. Plants and colors and night skies and food and clothing. The lines read as prose poetry. And as I mentioned, great dialogs.
The author narrates her own book. Her tongue is from the island, and I liked this. She did pronounce the "th" sound, because Anna could do this. She is the main character, the Acquisition Editor at a publishing house in New York, a publishing house promoting people of color. That the word "her" is softened into "hur" simply adds a touch of authenticity to the story. You feel like you are on the island. Yes, very good narration and nice and slow. You can listen and think.
I recommend this book for its writing, for its character portrayal and for how it draws you in letting you think about what Anna is thinking about. Anna, where do you belong? ...more
ETA: So I woke up at 4 AM irritated b/c I had left stuff out of my review. I should have given examples of the humor. One chapter is entitled somethinETA: So I woke up at 4 AM irritated b/c I had left stuff out of my review. I should have given examples of the humor. One chapter is entitled something like, 'Don't Try To Commit Suicide in a Tight Skirt". What else? Svetlana wanted to be cremated after her death. She told her daughter, Olga, to spread her ashes over a river in Wisconsin. Then she got thinking ....her daughter would be accused of polluting the river because they were the ashes of Stalin's daughter! Her daughter spread then over the Pacific.
This book is fantastic!
It is well written, based on solid research, engaging and will leave you rooting for Svetlana. Svetlana who? Svetlana Iosifovna Alliluyeva (1926-2011). Stalin's only daughter, or Lana Peters, the name by which she preferred to be called. The book covers her entire life.
What do I mean by well written? We are presented with both detailed and sometimes contradictory information. When divergent explanations are possible the reader is given adequate information to draw their own conclusion. Many, many quotes are provided, both about Svetlana and from the mouth of Svetlana. Great lines, wise lines, funny lines. There certainly is humor in this book that could have been so dark. Historical events related to her life are those that are presented; there is a perfect balance of personal and historical facts.
The information presented is thorough and detailed, but never dry. Svetlana's life story is utterly fascinating. What she lived through is exciting and will have you on the edge of your seat - not once, not twice, but many times. The book plunges you immediately into her defection in 1967 from the U.S.S.R. Then it backtracks. You must have heard about Frank Lloyd Wright's wives and about Taliesin. Well, Svetlana's fourth husband was Wes Peters, the son of Frank Lloyd Wright's last wife (Olgivanna) and Frank Lloyd Wright's stepson! Anybody who has read The Women by T.C. Boyle will certainly want to read this too. If you have read that you will know of the shenanigans of these architects, of these communal artisans. Their behavior, well, let’s leave it at this, Svetlana fit right in. Sort of, in some ways, until…...
You know what kind of a father she had. Did you know that her mother died when she was six and a half? That her father killed, imprisoned and utterly destroyed many of their own family? That when she defected to the U.S. she left behind two children? There is more you don’t know.
Are you interested in love stories? Svetlana spent her life searching for love.
The reason why I loved this book, beyond the fact that it is well executed, is that Svetlana was such an amazing person.....but human. The author shows you who she was in her soul, intimately and honestly, by her deeds, by her humor, by her anger, by her willingness to say she was sorry, by her humility. She was head-strong. She was volatile and emotional. She had a temper! She was very intelligent. I really admire her. What spunk. What courage. You have to read this book to meet this woman.
Here is one of those few exceptional non-fiction books that is simple to read because it is so engaging, because you have to know what happens. Why? Because you come to care.
This book shows you who Svetlana was in her heart, in her head. I admire her because she never gave up, even though she had such a hard life. You root for her, regardless of her foolish mistakes. Everybody thinks she was wealthy – just forget that! So many lies have been woven around her. You have to read this book to get to the truth.
One word about the audiobook narration by Karen Cass. I wanted to know and remember every detail. I wanted to forget nothing, and for that I need a very slow narration. While Cass does a very good job, I personally wish it had been a bit slower. I don't think others are quite as neurotic about speed as I am.
Now I want to read all the books written by Svetlana Alliluyeva. Unfortunately only some of the titles are listed here at GR. ...more
This is an utterly delightful book. I recommend it.
You need different books for different moods. This book will make you happy. I think it's becauseThis is an utterly delightful book. I recommend it.
You need different books for different moods. This book will make you happy. I think it's because it is optimistic, that isn't to say bad things are excluded from its pages. That is far from true. The book is exciting - bandits, a fire, shootings.
This is a biographical novel about the Chinese woman Lalu Nathoy (1853-1933), sold to bandits by her beloved father for the mere sum of two bags of seeds. I intentionally wrote “beloved father”. He was not a bad man, but the times were bad. Soon after, in 1872, she was smuggled into the US through San Francisco and re-sold for 2.500 USD. To whom? To a wealthy Chinese named Hong King, owner of a saloon at the mining camp in Warrens, Idaho. It was the era of the Gold Rush. Just guess what her job was to be.
What happens next is the central part of the book. How did she become Polly Bemis? What was it like to be Chinese in America at the turn of the century? This is after the Civil War. Blacks were free. Right? Well on paper. What about the Chinese? We are looking at a strong woman who valued freedom. Also a child/woman without family, without kin, without country. Who did she come to be? What did she make of her life?
The story is told very simply but covers such deep issues. Freedom. Independence and self-sufficiency. Bound feet. Rape. Chinese immigrants in the American West. Pioneer life. Friendship. Love and happiness and regrets. Aging.
The narration by Emily Zeller was very well done. Her intonations reflect men, women and children equally well. Easy to follow.
Sometimes you need to hear of a person who makes something of their life…. against all odds. The beauty of the telling is that the story is told simply, without fuss, without exaggeration. Without shrieks and exclamations. A woman, a good woman, who quietly and unobtrusively shaped her own life and those around her.
Three stars? Four stars? If you ask me if I liked the book, my immediate response is, “Yes, I really liked it! “ So I ought to give it four. Can’t a simply told story be worthy of four stars? Somehow I think three is better. ...more
I liked this book a lot.......until I started reaching the end. So there goes a star. I disliked the end because not one calamity but eight follow oneI liked this book a lot.......until I started reaching the end. So there goes a star. I disliked the end because not one calamity but eight follow one after another! You lose touch with reality. Sure, each of these things could have happened but probably not all of them. (view spoiler)[ A baby is born out in the bush without any aid. The baby is blind. The baby is lost. There is a huge fire. There is gun chase and a landslide. All money is gone, and there is no hope of ever getting employment since the labor-exchange is closed. Of course there is hunger. The immigrant couple’s existence is on the level of a dog’s. Instead of heaping one catastrophe on top of another, it would have been enough if the child had been born out in the bush and the Mexican couple had simply returned to Mexico! That would have been bad enough. (hide spoiler)]
But what did I like? And I did like most of the book very much. This book is about illegal Mexican immigrants in a suburb to Los Angeles, probably in the 21st Century. They are eking out an existence. Alongside the illegal immigrant couple is another couple, two wealthy Americans living in an exclusive walled-in community. He is a nature writer, she a real-estate agent of exclusive homes. Both are liberals, one child, dogs and of course a swimming pool. You get the picture. You compare the "haves" and the "have-nots". The beauty of the book is that you understand both and you watch the tension mount between the two. You cannot help but wonder if you too would get irrational. Do you protect what you have worked hard to achieve? Or are you compassionate and give and give and give…. and loose as a consequence? I loved this book for its ability to make me understand both sides. You are right there, and you are wondering how you would act given such circumstances. You watch as fissures creep into the wealthy couple's relationship.
The audiobook is narrated by the author himself. He reads quickly, but it is not hard to follow. Also, through the tempo, suspense increases, and that goes overboard occasionally.
I do recommend this book, regardless of the ridiculous ending, because you are there, in another person's shoes. You will come to question if your own praiseworthy intentions and behavior might falter. ...more
I would recommend this book to those of you who -want to try Mario Puzo, but don't know which of his books to start with. -are interested in Italian immI would recommend this book to those of you who -want to try Mario Puzo, but don't know which of his books to start with. -are interested in Italian immigrant life during the Depression. -like books about complicated family relationships.
In the introduction to the book we are told that it is this book that the author himself thought was his best. It is about his mother. He wrote The Godfather later. That one he wrote to be “a bestseller”; he had to support his family.
The book follows one Italian immigrant family through the Depression up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. They live in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, home to the poor and working-class Italian and Irish American immigrants. The language is crude and life is tough; you are happy if you simply survive. The mother, the star role of the family does survive. Just surviving makes her worthy of the title "the fortunate pilgrim", the book's title. Happy? Not necessarily. She has two husbands and six children. There are three deaths. By the book's end you know the six children. I particularly liked how the personalities of the six children were so different. You follow them to adulthood. By the book's end I felt empathy for the mother too. She was such a strong, determined woman that it wasn't until the end that I felt she needed my sympathy. Then what happens hits home. I need to feel empathy for the characters in a story. Not in the middle, but only by the book's end, did I feel such empathy. The life of this family felt genuine through and through, and moments of sunlight are shown too.
You cannot read a book about Italians that skirts the issue of the Mafia. Why is it so hard not to fall into the trap of the Mafia? One of the sons succumbs. Why? How? You understand because you understand the life of the mother and her six kids and that help was not available from legal venues.
I enjoy immigrant stories where the characters feel they are making something of their lives by moving rather than bemoaning what they have lost.
A word of warning: the language is filthy...but genuine. Do you want it cleaned up for your ears? Then you better pick another book.
I really disliked the narration of the audiobook by John Kenneth. Over-dramatized. Too emotional. His Italian accent made it difficult for me to hear the name of the person speaking. ...more
First impression: There is beauty in the words. You feel the North Korean war refugee's aloofness in his new country, Brazil. The distance he feels anFirst impression: There is beauty in the words. You feel the North Korean war refugee's aloofness in his new country, Brazil. The distance he feels and his reticence is palpable. Narration by the author adds to the lines' impact. A blanket of quiet overlays the story.
People can talk without words. What is not said can speak louder than what is said. And what a person does doesn’t always reflect what they are really saying. (view spoiler)[When Santi returns after Kiyoshi’s death and steals and slashes the dummy, he doesn’t return to steal. He doesn’t return to destroy. He returns because he is devastated by Kiyoshi’s death! (hide spoiler)]This book captures that. It draws a world of silence and solitude that does speak and does convey a message. You watch what happens. You feel the atmosphere. There is a distance to all that happens and to the characters themselves. The manner in which this is achieved is artistically done. Beautiful rather than boring. You are drawn in. Slowly, slowly this North Korean war refugee assimilates and comes to feel at home in his new country, in an unnamed village in Brazil. S-l-o-w-l-y the past recedes, the memories blur and he melts into a new life. You read this book to feel his dislocation, the alienation of one who leaves one country for another. Leaving both horrible memories and good memories, sort of like stapling up picture upon picture until the pictures at the bottom aren’t gone but are superseded by others that are newer, stronger, more vibrant. You cannot just rip out those pictures at the bottom, can you?
Is the ending realistic? No, maybe not, but I am OK with that. You do not read this book to follow the plot line from A to Z. Neither does the story follow a chronological order. Memories come and go, and that is how you learn of the past
An atmospheric novel, to be read to understand how it is to be completely alone in a new world. You never start from scratch, since we all have our own pasts. ...more
Where are we today at the beginning of the 21st Century? Where are we headed? I have been reading books that focus on ethnic cleansing and genocide. IWhere are we today at the beginning of the 21st Century? Where are we headed? I have been reading books that focus on ethnic cleansing and genocide. It seems to me there is more and more of this with each year that passes. What does this say about the way the world is run today? How do different books tackle these questions? When The Stars Fall To Earth was very good, albeit simple, but with an important message. It was fiction. It dealt with the problems that continue today in Darfur. I kept thinking, why did I like it so much even if it is simple and fictional, but I did! I liked it because it spoke of today's world and it spoke with clarity.
Strength in What Remains: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness by Tracy Kidder is equally good. This one is biographical. The author lets Deo, a survivor of the Rwandan/Burundi genocide, speak of his experiences. This is non-fiction, but it too speaks with clarity and leaves an important message about the world we live in today. Is there hope? Yes, but the main message from both is that people of the 21st Century must keep themselves informed and must get involved.
Kidder’s book clearly explains both the Rwandan and Burundi genocides. Although they are interrelated and do share some similarities, there are differences too. In both countries poverty, malnutrition and lack of educational opportunities have led to the underlying problems. In both countries Hutus comprise the overwhelming majority of the population, but in Burundi the military and political power was transferred to the Tutsis by first the German and then the Belgian colonial authorities. In Rwanda Hutus were in power. Both countries became independent from Belgium in 1962, and in both countries Belgium failed to prepare the governments for a successful takeover of power. The ethnic differences have been reinforced by the colonial parties. In Rwanda there was a government of the majority fighting against a powerless minority. The Burundi genocide was a prolonged ethnic civil war by a minority government fighting against rebels of the majority.
The chapters flip between those focused on Deo’s personal experiences and the historical details of the war. In addition, Deo’s experiences do not follow a chronological order. I would have preferred that they had. Chronologically you start in the middle, when Deo has just gotten to the US in 1994. He had been in his third year of medical studies in Burundi when he fled from rampage of killings in Burundi to Rwanda, back to Burundi and then to NYC, an immigrant with neither English, money nor even a green card. He went from an inferno to another situation scarcely better, but he survived. Later in the book the author accompanies Deo back to Burundi and Rwanda. He also accompanies Deo to those places he lived in Harlem, the exact sites in Central Park, to Soho and to those who gave him a helping hand. The reader looks at how Deo dealt emotionally and intellectually with his experiences. It all would have been simpler had the events been presented chronologically. That is my one complaint with the book.
The audiobook is narrated by the author clearly, but without any special flair. I have no complaints about the narration.
I liked this book because it clearly explains the details of both the Rwandan and Burundi genocides. Deo comes to work with Dr. Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health, about which the author has written another book: Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World. Here the focus of the book is set on what path we must follow into the future. This I liked too. That is why I picked up the book. Where will the future take us? ...more
I actually enjoyed listening to this. It was OK, but......
This is one of those books definitely improved by its narration, very well done by Sile BermI actually enjoyed listening to this. It was OK, but......
This is one of those books definitely improved by its narration, very well done by Sile Bermingham! Great Irish brogue, and the different women all sound unique. Still, when you look at the book as a whole, you are left rather flat. What does it give you? A "cute" telling of the Irish immigrant story in NYC. Not the early immigrants, but the ones that came in the 60s. Family life and friendship between workmates. What was the sandhog experience like? The job of the sandhog, digging the tunnels for the water pipes of NYC, that too. Half of the book is about the life of Irish gypsies, the "walking people" and life in rural Ireland. Sister relationships, and aging, serious accidents and who exactly is the true mother, the birth mother or the one who raises a child? All of this is covered - some parts flow better than others, but all these different parts are patchy. There is humor and sadness. The poignant end could have been improved. Was the part about (view spoiler)[ Alzheimer's (hide spoiler)] really necessary? You start in 2007, flip back to the past and then go forward to 2007. The book was OK, and certainly very well narrated.
I have chosen to read this book for two reasons. First of all I really liked Mary Beth Keane's Fever, so I have to read another by this talented author. Secondly, when I listened to the sample of this book by the author I both loved the narration by Sile Bermingham, with her wonderful Irish tone, and discovered it begins with a section about NYC sandhogs. Sandhogs is a term used for the Irish, Italian and West Indian immigrants that first dug the tunnels between Manhattan and Brooklyn. So.... I think illogically that the book may be similar to Colum McCann's This Side of Brightness, also about sandhogs! I loved that book, except for its stupid ending. I know this is all rather illogical; I will not get a a continuation of McCann's book, but still it might be good....more
There are two central themes to this book; it is both a love story and an in-depth look at what it is to be black, today, in America and in Nigeria. IThere are two central themes to this book; it is both a love story and an in-depth look at what it is to be black, today, in America and in Nigeria. It also looks at how it is to be young in today’s world – a world of computers and cellphones and blogs and, on a more general level, how people interrelate with each other.
Different readers will be drawn to different aspects of the novel. The love story did not draw me in. It begins with a “coming of age” attraction between two teenagers in Lagos, Nigeria. The story goes full circle and ends on the same note, back in Nigeria and back with these two, Obinze and Ifemelu. Will they find each other at the end? And if they do, at what cost to others? That this aspect of the novel did not attract me is not to say that it was poorly written, but only that my interests lay elsewhere, given my particular past experiences and age.
What did interest me is Adichie’s penetration of race, racial bigotry and inequality. Obinze and Ifemelu are separated. Ifemelu goes to the America with her aunt, but after 9/11 Obinze cannot get into America and immigrates to London. Political turmoil in Nigeria and the impossibility of getting a good education at home is what forces both abroad. Both experience how it is to be without family in a foreign country as an immigrant, Obinze an illegal immigrant. Ifemelu learns what it is to be an African Black in North America. Both flounder. The central themes remain love relationships and race.
As with all books it is the reader’s own experiences that influence how one perceives a book’s content. How do I compare my own immigrant experiences with those portrayed in the novel and why are they different? To what extent are blacks discriminated against in the US today in comparison to Europe? I look with admiration at the US and think how wonderful it is that Obama, a Black could become president. That does say something, no matter how you twist or turn it. That Adichie isn’t satisfied, that she reveals to me, a non-black, the inequalities that still remain is only admirable. Through her characters you come to understand on a ground level the inequalities that remain. You understand on a personal level. One example: in all the women’s magazines there are article after article about what eye shadow works best for brown or blue or green eyes, but what if you have black eyes? There are full discussions of what to do with straight, wavy or curly hair, but where is there help for kinky hair? Yeah, there STILL isn’t total equality, total acceptance of all our differences. I like that the book made me more aware of what is to be black on a daily basis. There is also the difference of being a Black-American and the difference of being a Non-American Black. Being colored, Hispanic versus African versus Asian, are all different. A Black-American lives with the baggage of historical discrimination in the US.
Narration of the audiobook by Adjoa Andoh is excellent, albeit a bit difficult for those, like me, who are not accustomed to the many different black accents. I had to listen carefully. I am glad I had a chance to do this through this audiobook.
I believe how you will react to this book will be determined by the theme that most draws your attention. You may be enthralled by the love story or like me just interested in current racial and immigrant injustices. ...more