Vibina Venugopal's Reviews > Roots: The Saga of an American Family

Roots by Alex Haley
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's review
Jul 28, 12

bookshelves: tour
Read in June, 2012

Kunta Kinte born in a small African village, Juffure., From childhood the slow transformation into adulthood revolves with African traditional training reflecting all the cultural heritage where he is given a house of his own , a piece of farm that lays a strong foundation for his independence as an adult yet to be..All this gives a glimpse of African life..His life turns upside down when he is captured and sold to a plantation owner ripping him off his homeland ..His constant trial to escape for freedom is heart rendering..Enter breezy character of Fiddler who teaches him English, this is when the whole lightens the otherwise grey shade of the storyline..Kinte marries Bella in a traditional African marriage that includes jumping over the broom..Kizzy is born..The plot again takes a tragic note as Kizzy is sold because she is caught trying to help her boyfriend's escape who eventually gets caught too..She is raped continuously by her new master..These incidents gives the reader a glimpse of how families are broken and how their life is shattered with no mercy and sympathy ..Kizzy's son George (called chicken George)who is amazing at chicken fight is unable to buy himself freedom by his greed..His eldest son Tom , a fascinating blacksmith and his story revolves around the civil war and where there is a sharp portrayal of how Black Americans fought their way to earn their much deserved freedom..Cynthia's daughter of Tom marries Simon Haley giving birth to Alex Haley author of the book...

Kunta kinte's character was the one I liked the most with all his African upbringing of going to school with his various training in company of his mates..Being captured renamed as Toby he insists everyone to be called by his original name..His constant attempt to escape and his being captured every time finally leading to the whites cutting half of his foot his desperation and finally settling down choosing plantation life to death marrying Bell was all a great read to me..I was wondering how it be to lead a life with a feeling that you'll never go home and see your family..He tries hard to hold onto his African roots denying to take up Christianity still he is able to respect his wife Bell's belief in her religion..In slavery he is unable to voice anything he wants eventually forced to take up a life of total despair, devastated at his daughter's sale he eventually dies with a heavy heart..

After reading the book I wondered how many of us have an idea of our ancestoral roots though many of ours may not be as transcendental like Haley's still we all must have a long family history that might be interesting..Parents helplessness as their only child being sold like a cattle was a strong tide that stroke a chord in me.. Sufferings of the slaves are so intense that the reader starts getting too personal with the sufferings of the characters..A graphic repersentation about the slave trade..The book is not pointed to any particular character it moves from generation to generations..

This book suffered a lot of setbacks due to various plagiarism and other historic facts and inspite of all this this book is by far a great book to read it to the soul....Just read and relish the muslim african culture move on to the tormenting slavery and its set backs to the pre- and post civil war till they breath free air.
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