The Book of Negroes

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Lawrence Hill's novel The Book of Negroes is a gripping tail of a young African girl named Aminata, in her life as she is abducted at a young age and forced into the slave trade. This is not a challenging read as it does not have a high level of vocabulary so it is readable by almost all ages. The story progresses as Aminata grows and matures physically and mentally, through horrendous conditions and mistreatment. The journey is full of twists and turns, and you can't help but root for the determined young Aminata. This Novel will keep you wanting more, you wont be satisfied till the final page. The Book of Negroes is divided by three parts. In the first part you are exposed to a quite young Aminata. She is (at this point) inexperienced, or in other words oblivious to the world outside her close conglomerate of nearby villages. This is portrayed by her innocence as a child to the harsh realities of the outside world. Her mother is a midwife and delivers babies to provide for their family. Aminata is taken along on many of her trips and learns how to do it herself, which will be a crucial skill for her later on throughout life. This point in the novel, there is a twist thrown into the plot. On their return journey they are captured by slave traders and marched away from their home. The brutality of the slave traders gives the reader their first glimpse into the hardships Aminata will endure throughout her journey. Despite the bleak conditions, Aminata retains her hope and will to live. Throughout the novel the reader witnesses Aminata's growth in several aspects. After being taken she begins going through puberty, hard enough while being in the best of circumstances. Secondly she grows intellectually as she progresses through her trials. An awareness of how different the world really was than what she had first envisioned as a child. Her journey progresses as she changes with each no surrounding she is placed in. Starting from Africa, to Carolina, Nova Scotia, even Sierra Leon. As she travels from place to place you become aware of the extent that slavery had penetrated into every society around the world. While in Carolina, Aminata (much older at this juncture) retains much more responsibility and freedoms due to her skills as a midwife, as well as ability to read and write, than the majority of African slaves of the region. While in the States at this time an American war erupted between Britain and nationalist Americans. Aminata's contributions to the British won her a spot in the famous Book of Negroes. This book was the only thing that would anyone whose name was in it, to leave the United States and resettle in Nova Scotia, Canada. She is then greeted with the realization that Canada isn't as accepting as she would have hoped. Canadians hold a expectation of accommodation, yet are not as welcoming as we would have liked to believe. Lawrence Hill creates a story to where the reader must feel sympathy for Aminata. That we would root for her with each undertaking she pursues, that each act of strength and defiance despite unprecedented odds stacked against her. She truly exemplifies a strong women protagonist in a world where not only women are second class in a male dominated society, but also black in a white dominated society. The fact that she overcame insurmountable odds makes this story that much more intriguing. Other struggles she has faced are not all that uncommon in such facets like: sexism, exploitation sexually, verbal and physical abuse, and public humiliation. The story of Aminata is a realistic story, whose struggles are easily relatable to an extent which makes the novel that much more enticing. I really enjoyed this novel, it kept me on the edge wanting more. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good book to read leisurely.

Significant Passages

Book One Chapter 1: "And now I am old"

I have escaped violent endings even as they...
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