Melissa's Reviews > Breath, Eyes, Memory

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
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's review
Jun 27, 2011

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Read in June, 2011

"I come from a place where breath, eyes and memory are one, a place from which you carry your past like the hair on your head. Where women return to their children as butterflies or as tears in the eyes of the statues that their daughters pray to."

Breath, Eyes, Memory is a coming of age story focusing on Sophie Caco, a young girl growing up happily with her aunt in Haiti but then suddenly finds herself on a plane to New York, to reconnect with a mother who left her as an infant. As her mother's back story becomes more clear and the traumatic rape that produced Sophie surfaces in her dreams each night, the burden of being a woman in Haiti and the lengths women in the family go to preserve their daughters' purity is painfully disturbing.

There are some wonderfully lyrical lines in the narrative and the story flows very smoothly, making it an easy read but some aspects of the plot and characters are underdeveloped. The relationship between Sophie and her mother is so charged with misplaced anger, tension, shared mental illness, and wavering senses of loyalty that never fully gets addressed or fully realized. Despite this, I enjoyed Danticat's writing style and infusion of Haitian culture and beliefs.

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