Book of the (last) month

It is so cliché to say, but time really flies. I feel like the month of September went by in one super-sonic flash. Already it’s October, the weather is colder and we’re starting to talk about our Halloween costumes. Oh, where do the hours go?
So before I knew it we had missed inanutshell’s monthly book review! This month’s book club book was one that has been critically acclaimed and given a lot of attention: The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill.
One of our book clubbers, Mary-Anne, said she read the book while on vacation in Vegas and was approached by a stranger asking where she got the book. The lady then explained that it was practically banned in the United States, and very hard to find. As shocking as that is to hear in this century, I suppose it’s no surprise. The book is in no way flattering to the American (and Canadian!) past of hate, racism and discrimination.
The novel follows the story of Aminata Diallo, or how she is later referred to, Meena Dee.
It begins with her peaceful and wonderful life in an African village with her family. Then one horrific night, strangers come to pillage the town, killing anyone who puts up a fight and rounding the others up like cattle to begin a journey to the sea front. The group that keeps growing with more prisoners at every stop is finally shipped onto a boat destined for the United States. The living conditions are horrible and the actions of some of the captors, unspeakable, as they make a long and painful journey across the ocean. Lucky to survive, Meena makes it to North Carolina, where she is sold and begins work on an indigo plantation, under the watch of a despicable slave owner. Finally, she is sold again and begins a life as a servant before devising a plan to seek her own freedom. Meena moves from North Carolina, to New York to New Brunswick, always lucky to survive and despite her disturbing and unjust life, keeps a vibrant spirit and sense of self that is both inspiring and unbelievable.
This book will draw you in like a thriller, making you burn the midnight oil to get through another chapter. It’s fascinatingly informative and educates the reader on the gruesome details of the slave trade and those that experienced it first hand. You will fall in love with Meena and grieve with her as she tries to make the most of a life that was stolen from her at a young age.
I consider this book a “must-read” which applies to both male and female readers. I give it a 10/10 for its readability and captivating narrative.
Book of Negroes will make you change your take on the world, and how fortunate we are to be living in better times…in a nutshell.

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About Catherine Kitts

Catherine (@catkitts) has been known to put her party dress on at the drop of a hat and will rarely say no to a new adventure. After completing her Bachelor of Journalism at Carleton University, she worked at the editor of a local newspaper for three years before trading hard news for the world of communications, marketing and advertising. Constantly juggling hectic work and social schedules, she always makes time for some of her biggest passions: news, sports, pop culture, cuisine, literature and many others. You can expect her to cover a wide variety of topics, keeping her finger on the pulse of Ottawa, her hometown - a city she's grown to love. *Bad Habit: never wanting to miss out *Favourite Food: pickles *Favourite Restaurant: El Camino *Wine of Choice: whatever Kate is drinking *Favourite Band: (solo artist?) Justin Timberlake *Favourite Song: Dancing in the Dark - Springsteen *Fashion Icon: Lauren Conrad *Political Affiliation: none *Favourite Movie: Back to the Future, Kindergarden Cop, Jurassic Park, Drive. *TV Series: Seinfeld *Sport: Hockey / Football *Team: Ottawa Senators / Seattle Seahawks *Favorite Book: Great Expectations - Charles Dickens, Freedom - Jonathan Franzen. ** To contact Catherine write her at : inanutshellca@gmail.com

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