Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Homegoing-Book Review

The family is like a forest:If you are outside it is dense;if you are inside you see that each tree has it's own position-Homegoing

This book tells the story of two sisters Effia and Esi.They have different fathers, lived in different villages and didn't know of each other.This because of the fact that their mother had Effia first,when she was a slave/house-help and ran away immediately after giving birth to her,fearing the wrath of the lady of the house.She got Esi later and they were a happy family until their village was raided by a rival village and she found her self in a dungeon..........

The book traces the descendants of these two women;

Effia's descendants who all remained in their homeland.Those that traveled abroad went to study and returned back home.Effia's descendants are lucky in that they do not have to move out of their country against their will or to be slaves.For most part they are very privileged until her  grandson decides to marry a girl of his choosing and not the one chosen for him to keep his family relations with those in power. His decision causes those that come after him to lack the privilege of wealth and power. Through her descendant you will learn about slave trade from the village elders/chiefs who were lead merchants,how they got people to sell,how missionaries came and what they did to win over people, how cocoa(the plant) became one of the cash crops for Ghana,how white man's education changed the society and a small glimpse of what independence from colonialism looked like in it's earliest days.The newest person in this family tree is a girl called Marjorie.

Esi on the other hand gets sold as a slave.Her and her descendants experience all the hardship that came with slavery.Her descendants in the book suffer so much but there is light at the end of the tunnel as at the end of the book,one of them is studying for his PhD at Stanford. Through her descendants the reader gets to learn about slave trader,what slaves had to under go,how they escaped slavery,how they lived as first generation free people in America or in the UK,how the new generation born and bred abroad felt like they never truly belonged anywhere and their struggles.The newest person in this family tree is Marcus.

Marjorie and Marcus meet and become friends not knowing that they are cousins.They become really good friends and she convinces him to go to Ghana to see the country of his ancestors.They visit Ghana and on his insistence they go visit the castle on the beach that housed British soldiers on the upper floors and had people who were sold into slavery hidden in dungeons underneath it.This visit in some way helps both of them overcome their fears and most importantly is some what a homecoming for Marcus.

My two absolute favourite quotes/paragraphs from this book are;

1) “Do you hear that?” Fiifi asked, pointing to the birds.Frustrated, Quey nodded.“When one bird stops, the other one starts. Each time their song gets louder, shriller. Why do you think that is?” “Uncle Fiifi, trade is the only reason we’re here. If you want the British out of your village, you have to—” “What you cannot hear, Quey, is the third bird. She is quiet, quiet, listening to the male birds get louder and louder and louder still. And when they have sung their voices out, then and only then will she speak up. Then and only then will she choose the man whose song she liked better. For now, she sits, and lets them argue: who will be the better partner, who will give her better seed, who will be there when times are difficult.“Quey, this village must conduct its business like that female bird. You want to pay more for slaves, pay more, but know that the Dutch will also pay more, and the Portuguese and even the pirates will pay more too. And while you are all shouting about how much better you are than the others, I will be sitting quietly in my compound, eating my fufu and waiting for the price I think is right. Now, let us not speak of business anymore. 

2) “We believe the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must always ask yourself, Whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there, you begin to get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.”

Homegoing feels like a book that should be read by the ocean that I got to finish it by the ocean makes me so so happy.
This is easily the best book I have read this year,its historical fiction but the author did so much research so as to make it a true representation of the historical events that happened and that her book talks of.She took seven years to write it so you best believe it is accurate and very well written.I highly recommend this book.Now if someone could just write one for Kenya and tell us what really went down.

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