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The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.
Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.
I can’t help writing about Homegoing for the simple reason that it is BRILLIANT. I don’t even know how many times I fell in love and got my heart broken but DAMN IT WAS WORTH IT.
The truth is though, many readers won’t read it, because of several excuses :
First off : Homegoing deals with slavery, through an incredible family saga. The truth is, I’ve always been wary of sentences like, we already know about this so let’s move on.
We see how it goes when people *think* they know enough about History.
Proof #1 – French people rewriting history and stating things like, “we fought in 1940 so fuck off refugees!”
I’m sorry WHAAAAT? Nope most didn’t. Nope. Stop saying this. STOP. You’re merely showing how uneducated you are. Same with the ones who think that the EU was created solely for fighting the United States. Can you just stop? It’s starting to get embarrassing, Trump.
Proof #2 – Two days ago I’ve read a comment on Facebook stating that “Palestinians were just ARABS who should come back to their country of origin.”
Oh my God school is GREAT. TRY IT.
Proof # 3 – And then you have this :
(you can read her post here)
The disheartening and offensive papers this poor prof had to read show again that what we can be fairly uneducated on subjects we *think* we know, and in my opinion,
1) it’s never too early to start educating people about this and
2) we have to reevaluate what we know fairly often because our self-assessment scale is often broken.
About my first point : of course we’re not going to teach slavery in Kindergarten, BUT children of 8 to 10 can start dealing with these subjects. In my class, for example, I teach the broad lines of triangular trades, according to the National curriculum. Yes, we talk about how Bordeaux and Nantes’s merchants became rich because of it, and at this point, I don’t care if some pupils come from these families. They need to know it even more, because… you don’t get to be proud, guys. You don’t. I don’t care about fake patriotism. It’s unhealthy to create some phantasmagoric history of your country. It always is. I think that one of the worst misunderstandings these days is that bullshit that makes people say that you are being unpatriotic if you point your country’s flaws and horrors. It’s the opposite, guys. I am being patriotic when I talk about the French involvement in slavery. I am, because I am trying to make my country better in the future. By hiding behind fake news and rewritten history, you are not. You are missing the point entirely, because what you’re so proud of isn’t your country but merely a fake, dangerous and empty shell.
Then there comes the compelling excuse. “I’m not reading that serious book of yours, I’m here for the entertainment, ha!” You know what though? Homegoing is compelling and enthralling, I fell in love twenty times, my heart constantly breaking itself then healing then breaking then – the FEELS. .
So. Let’s sum it up.
1. You’re gonna fall in love and ship the fuck out of some of them and care and she manages to do that in 20 pages EVERY FUCKING TIME. Brilliant.
2. You’re gonna be captivated and forget everything that is not these characters.
3. The FEELS. Prepare your heart because WOW OKAY? I felt so offended and furious and despaired and FULL.
4. You’ll be a little further from an ignorant jerk. IN OUR WORLD THAT COUNTS.
5. It’s an ownvoice novel.
6. The writing is perfect did I say that????
Tell me now why you shouldn’t read this book.
Fucking tell me.