I read the Canadian version of this book but hopefully it was the same. I'd like to see the American version to compare.
It's difficult to believe that this is Lawrence Hill's first novel. It was extremely well written and was one of those books that was difficult to put down. I know this book is fiction but I also believe that Hill was probably not far off the mark on his treatment of the captives when they were wrenched from their homes. Their treatment on land and on the ship was horrifying. I couldn't believe that one human being could treat another this way. I did have a problem with Animata being so mature at only 11 years of age in the beginning of the book but as I read her age didn't seem to enter my mind. The actual story was riveting. Although I knew the book was fiction I was sad to find at the end of the book that the woman I spent 4 days with, reading the book, didn't exist. I find myself hoping that she was a composite of many women, that some of the slaves were determined enough to learn to read/write, to be given at least some respect and limited freedom by their owners.
Everyone should read this book. I had a feeling that Hill was partly writing the book as a way of expressing his anger and frustration at what had been done to his ancestors. It could bring out anger and frustration in some readers as well, but if it deepens the compassion of even one person who didn't quite feel the compassion before then the book's purpose has been served.
I do wish someone would make this book into a movie. A series, such as Roots in the 1970's, would be even better.
What did you think of this review?