Jae's Reviews > The Book of Negroes

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
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's review
Aug 30, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: owned

There were several reasons I could have felt lukewarm about this book. First, Aminata is less of an individual character than a sort of Everywoman African from that time, and I have a strong preference for characters with unique quirks and foibles. Second, Hill makes some odd writing choices that rubbed me the wrong way at first (very little internal thought or emotion during the interactions with other characters, for one). But once I got into it, I couldn't put it down. In fact, I would have been thrilled to have seen her experiences go on for another 200 years--why not, if she's an Everywoman? I particularly appreciated how unflinching Hill was about presenting the white characters, how alongside the demons there were several who were basically decent people, but none who truly understood Aminata's world, and therefore none she could truly trust. Very realistic and a real antidote to some of the "white person saves the day" takes on race relations in fiction.

Looking back, I can say that I not only enjoyed the story, I also learned a lot, and it's slightly altered my perspective on Black Canadians. What more can you ask from a book, really?
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Reading Progress

August 30, 2011 – Shelved
September 25, 2011 – Shelved as: owned
September 28, 2011 – Started Reading
October 13, 2011 – Finished Reading

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