I can happily say this book lived up to the hype. It was beautifully written with a unique structure that traces 300 years of history in Ghana and theI can happily say this book lived up to the hype. It was beautifully written with a unique structure that traces 300 years of history in Ghana and the United States. Homegoing tells the story of two sisters, Effia and Esi, who were born in Ghana. Effia is married to an Englishman and lives a comfortable life in Ghana and Esi is captured and sold into slavery in the US. The chapters switch back and forth from a descendant of Effia and Esi, and the story of each generation is told in chronological order.
The structure of this book is its pro and its con. I enjoyed seeing each generation take shape and thought Gyasi did a fantastic job introducing new descendant and painting a picture of who they were and what their lives were like. However, each chapter felt like a short story and so it would introduce a new character that I couldn't feel very connected to because I only got a glimpse of them and couldn't follow them on their journey. Granted, Gyasi's writing is so beautiful and immersive that I really felt like I got to know a lot of these characters well, or at least got a good idea of who they were as people. But then I would move on to another story and set of characters that I had to focus on to keep my bearings, and so a lot of the descendants who felt so vivid at first ended up being forgotten in my mind.
That said, I think this is an amazing debut novel that helps put a face to a name (even if it's a fictional face and name) to the horrible events that led to Africans being rounded up and sold into slavery, the wars that took place in Africa as tribes fought against invaders, and the issues that Africans and African Americans have had to face as a new generation emerges. There is a lot to unpack here, and it's so beautifully explored that you can't help but find yourself enjoying a novel full of pain, struggle, and survival....more
This is my first book by Joan Didion. In it, she discusses the year after her husband's sudden death. They were married a very long time, and3.5 Stars
This is my first book by Joan Didion. In it, she discusses the year after her husband's sudden death. They were married a very long time, and she shares details on their married life, work life, and their family life with their adopted daughter.
I felt like this memoir was Joan writing through her grief, attempting to understand it as best she can, going back in time to dissect her memories to figure out what led her to the present. But I also got the feeling that while she's very intelligent and a skilled writer (there are beautiful passages in this book), she is also a very reserved woman who looks at abstract concepts such as grief and suffering with a more critical eye, more logically than emotionally.
As I read on (or listened, since I had an audiobook), I found myself hoping that Joan would explore her grief in a more personal way. Maybe not the first couple of chapters, because she was still figuring things out, but maybe the middle chapters? The ending chapters? I kept wanting her to dive into her emotions, really grapple with what she was feeling, and I hoped that the ending of this book would be illuminating for her and for me, the reader.
I guess I wanted her to be less detached, more vulnerable. Grief is a personal thing, however, everyone deals with it differently, so I don't fault Joan for writing this memoir the way she did, or for expressing herself in the manner that she did. I think I expected something more 'magical' and deep, and it never went there for me, so in the end I thought it was a beautiful memoir, but it left me wanting more....more
Finally re-read the ending of this book and I can now share more of my thoughts.
The book opens with an unnamed narrator going on a road trip to visitFinally re-read the ending of this book and I can now share more of my thoughts.
The book opens with an unnamed narrator going on a road trip to visit her boyfriend's parents. She's only dated Jake few weeks, but she's thinking of ending things. Like with all relationships, there are good things and bad things, but she's decided to tell Jake it's over after they meet his parents. Except when she finally does, something seems... off.
The plot of this novel seems pretty basic at first, but it becomes clear over time that something is not quite right. There are italicized parts interwoven in the story as well, where some anonymous characters are discussing something brutal that has happened, and that just adds to the mystery.
The ending is unexpected and confusing, and I had to read it twice to really make sense of it. I think this will divide a lot of readers--not everyone will be into the story as a whole, but I enjoyed it, and thought it was very unique. ...more
This was such a crazy read! The story centers around Vic McQueen, a young girl with a gift of finding things thanks to a magical bridge that appears wThis was such a crazy read! The story centers around Vic McQueen, a young girl with a gift of finding things thanks to a magical bridge that appears whenever she's riding her bike.
On one of these adventures she meets Charles Manx, an old, creepy, misogynistic prick who loves children and has created a world called Christmasland, where children will never know sadness. Charles is helped by another creep, Bing Partridge, who helps him collect children and take them to Christmasland. When Vic's son Bruce gets taken by Mr. Manx and Bing to go to Christmasland, Vic must fight with all she has to get her boy back.
What follows is a sick, twisted, magical story that manages to be both heartwarming and horrific. It's so hard to describe what makes this such a unique book--there's a lot going on, some awesome world-building, various characters, and violent scenes that make you wonder how humans can be so resilient. It's a fun ride, though, and every chapter keeps you wanting more.
My two critiques are that some characters seem very stereotypical, ie. The Nerd and The Manic Pixie Girl, and the dialogue can be over the top at times, especially when it comes to the women. Sometimes they say something that I would never imagine a woman saying or thinking. It definitely reads as if a man is writing the story, and it kind of took me out of the scene I was reading at the time. Sometimes men in the story will say or think something truly psychotic or over the top, and I wondered if maybe Joe Hill got carried away. Sometimes less is more.
However I was able to look past this as there is so much else to appreciate in the story, and it truly was a unique reading experience. So I still recommend it, especially if you're into horror, magical realism, and fast paced stories....more