Book Review: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

photo courtesy of me.

A friend recommended this book to me, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. Yaa Gyasi’s writing really left an impact on me. It is a powerful novel about the importance of remembering our history. I honestly have no other words to describe it, and I cannot do justice by just putting a basic summary. I took a class in which we read literature from authors of the African Diaspora, but that was a few years ago. This book served as a reminder to me to not forget my history. I first started reading it on the cruise I went on and it spellbound me immediately. What I find unique about this book is that each story seems to stand on its own and it feels like you are reading several novels within a 300 page novel. The book covers so much history in just 300 or so pages that I was left feeling both exhausted and incredibly moved.

I do admit because I wasn’t super focused while reading, I sometimes got lost while reading the book and had to go back at some points and remember who the characters were, but there is a family tree at the beginning of the novel with the characters’ names. The family tree was helpful because each character has their own chapter, and the characters cross paths in each others’ stories, so it can be helpful in order to keep up with the characters. If you end up not taking an Africana Studies course at any point in your life, at the very least read this book because while it’s not going to just lay out all the bullet points and basic facts just like any standard textbook would, the lived experiences of these characters at these different points in history (the slave trade to Jim Crow-era segregation to the present) is enough to make you pause and reflect on the history of race and blackness and how it has shaped African-Americans’ individual lives. Overall, it is an incredibly powerful book that left me with goosebumps and honestly I hope they make it into a movie someday.

Homegoing: A Novel by Yaa Gyasi. 320 pp.

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