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By Yaa Gyasi. Read about it on Amazon.
I loved this book! I could not put it down. I would highly recommend Homegoing, as it is one of the best books I have read for quite awhile.
I enjoyed reading this book. However, I’m not sure that it is suitable for our students. The main reason is that it is an attempt to tell a story over several generations of African-Americans. Each individual story is set in a different time and place. While each can be read separately, the book’s power is in following the narrative threads. I doubt if it could hold the attention of students for that amount of time. Moreover, I think that the story would resonate most with African-American readers/students and our student body does not have many African-Americans.
This book is an easy read. The proverb in the beginning of the book is profound. It says, “The family is like the forest: if you are outside it is dense; if you are inside you see that each tree has its own position. The book tells us stories of eight generations: from tribal chiefs and slaves in Gold Coast in West Africa to plantations in the deep South, to North East of the United States. The story is about African Americans. However, it gives readers an understanding of why it is so difficult to forget the troubled legacy of oppression in general, and what individuals do to move forward. It shows what oppression does to individuals who endure it, their descendants, and the nations where it takes place. It is also inspirational because it shows there’s a way out. Family history does not necessarily define an individual’s future, but there is value in remembering where one came from. I think it can be used by many disciplines, history, psychology, sociology, social sciences, and even business and management (courses that are dedicated to cultural and historical awareness for business management).
I too enjoyed this book. There are some harsh parts, gentle parts, sad and happy parts. I think it will interest our students and can see many themes that would work in almost any class. One of the themes will be what is happening NOW and that can be applied to any and all forms of social justice.
As mentioned above, this is a novel largely about how trans-Atlantic slavery split two branches of the same family in/from Ghana. The reader follows the two branches over the course of several generations. It’s a fabulous book with much to offer readers both with and without a personal history connection to Africa and trans-Atlantic slavery. An important theme is the connection between slavery, colonization, structural racism, and mass incarceration. If this year’s theme is immigration, it wouldn’t be a good fit to feature it since the majority of the book focuses on forced movement of people under slavery as well as colonial power. But if we are not necessarily focusing on the immigration topic, I’m in favor.
This is a good book, but I’m concerned if it works well for the Reading Program as it is a bit difficult to get into. Then when it references 1764, many students might think this is a very old story and not of high interest. I think we have other books on the list that will work better for the Campus Reading Program.
This book is noteworthy, but, I believe, difficult for students to follow. Length is right, but I think other works might bring students in more effectively.
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