My enjoyment rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Publisher (received three years ago...as I hang my head in shame)
Genre: Historical fiction
Sensitive reader: violent acts against humanity, sexual situations, deprivation.
Epic: heroic, grand, majestic, poetic.
All of the above could be used to describe Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill.
Aminata Diallo has been stolen from her tribe, witnessed her parents being killed, and has been trekked by slave traders to the Slave Coast of Africa to make her long journey to America as a slave. All at the age of 11.
Fortunately, she’s been taught well by her parents and knows both her mother’s trade as a midwife, and her father’s gift of languages. They will be essential to her survival and future.
Her journey takes her to the low country of South Carolina, to the urban centers of Manhattan during the Revolutionary War, on a ship to the coast of Nova Scotia as a Black Loyalist, to the new colony of Freetown Sierra Leone, and finally, as an abolitionist for the British.
This was not a pleasant narrative. Slavery is awful. But I was engrossed in Aminata’s (ah MEEN a tah) tale from the first page: her struggles, her pain, her loss – but also her endurance, her talents, her wisdom, and ultimately, her survival.
I haven’t read a novel with such heart and scope since The Poisonwood Bible or possibly, Gone With the Wind.
If you want to get lost in a difficult story and life of an incredible woman, open your soul to Aminata.
You’ll be glad you know her name.
Our October book club selection: