Review: The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill


Unrolling a map of the world, Aminata Diallo puts one finger on the coast of West Africa and another on London. The first is where she was born in 1745, the second is her location six decades later. Her story is what happened in between, and her remarkable voice is the heart and soul of Hill’s magnificent novel.
Brought before the British public by the abolitionists to reveal the realities of slavery, she has come, old and weary, to change the tide of history and bear witness to some of the world’s most grievous wrongs.
Kidnapped and taken from her family as a child, Diallo is forced aboard a ship bound for South Carolina, where she arrives at age 12, weak and ill, the other slaves her only family. But soon she is sold again and begins an exodus that will lead to Canada, where she discovers the same relentless
hardship and stinging prejudice.
Her hunger for freedom drives her back across the Atlantic to England, and in 1792, Aminata undertakes yet another ocean crossing, bound for the place of her birth.


Published Date: 2007
Source: Purchased

I mean this in possibly the most sincere way ever but ‘Hallelujah! I’ve finally finished this novel!’ I celebrate the fact that I have tried over and over to read this novel with great interest and never read past the first chapter. I finished it. I’m terrified to read anything else that might accurately and inaccurately portray the slave trades and personal accounts of the victims.

The Book of Negroes is part of many novels that I intend on reading relating to victimization of the black people in the last few centuries. Some of child soldiers and others are just victims of themselves, but I can definitely say that I felt overwhelmed with the feelings accounted in this piece.

Lawrence Hill, even a man, managed to bring out a very human-sounding female in The Book of Negroes. You wouldn’t have been able to imagine a man wrote it. The description of how the female protagonist, Aminata, describes the personal pains of going into womanhood and decade’s later child birth.

The Book of Negroes is an amazing story of mixed fact and fiction combined to bring surreal light to a situation that some people still have trouble perceiving. The people who, in reality, had gone through the trials and tribulations, and the sufferers of and in the trade are amazing people who, even though they never perceived it as so, have changed the course of history. For many people, not only for the blacks but also for any other ethnic race that is being gagged, bound and yoked for the profit of another being’s wellbeing.

The layout of The Book of Negroes is separated in “Books”. Like the Bible, each “book” is a different story in Aminata’s life. Commonly found in each “book” is the term exodus. Because each story was a new account of trip documented it only seemed fitting. Another story surrounded by religion, both Christian and Muslim, the term exodus only seemed fitting.

Final thoughts:

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely, although Lawrence Hill had intentionally manipulated some of the timeframes, the fact still remains the same. From the 1700’s to 1900’s there were troubling times for everybody, not just the blacks, but for Americans, Britons, Jews, Muslims, Canadians, they were all suffering from either being on the giving or receiving end of the slave agreements.

4 Star




Have you read any books lately that just made you stop and think?


About Black ' n Write Reviewer

Library Tech grad who is currently working on a BA in Political Science and filling all her time with books.
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4 Responses to Review: The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

  1. If I hadn’t read the non-fiction book Roots by Alex Haley five years ago, I would be interested in this one. Great review, but the book reminds me too much of Roots. BTW the book is amazing and it is one of those books that have made me think about my own ancestry and made me humble about the opportunities I have today.

    • Thanks for your comment. Roots is actually one of those books I intend on reading (eventually), I actually own the DVD pack and never have watched it yet. It is amazingly humbling to know what people had fought and died for so that future generations can have more than they did.

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