Blair Conrad's Reviews > The Book of Negroes

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
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's review
Aug 05, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: library, one-book-one-community, fiction
Read in August, 2009

A really strong starter. I was immediately captivated by the voice the author used for Aminata, and the initial part of her journey is fascinating and packed with beauty, horrors, and intense emotion. The story remained interesting throughout and, assuming it's an accurate representation of events, gave a good introduction to the various ways in which the slaves taken from Africa were treated and mistreated in the United States and Britain (Canada).
Eventually, though, I became slightly less enamoured of the story - it was partly the fact that Aminata was a superwoman (although this is hardly an uncommon situation in books, and was perhaps the only way to present the story that Mr. Hill wanted to without resorting to following multiple main characters, which would've lessened the emotional impact - just for some reason I was really aware of her specialness) and I think partly due to the structure of the story. By presenting bits of the end first, then tracing us through her chronology, Aminata's story became more and more constrained, funnelling down toward the end that we'd been led to expect. I found that this reduced the tension and anticipation somewhat, leading to a weaker finish than might've been.
Still, a powerful book that tells a vital story. Recommended.

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03/09/2016 marked as: read

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