“The family is like the forest: If you are outside it is dense; if you are inside you see that each tree has its own position” My personal reading choices when it comes to non-fiction veer off in two rather opposing spectrums. On one swing of the pendulum you will find my deep appreciation for the fantastical and magical, which is anchored within the realm of wild possibility. On the opposite swing of the pendulum, my reading subject matter choice is anchored in stark, bleak reality relating to African identity and history, especially addressing colonisation and slavery. Most African and Black History remains untold, one-sided and/or incomplete and that’s why I appreciate authors like Yaa Gyasi, who take on the daunting task of bringing “our” stories (with their colourful, painful histories) to life through fresh, informative narratives.
“Any niggerwoman can become a black woman in secret. This is why we dark, cause in the night we disappear and become spirit. Skin gone and we become whatever we wish. We become who we be.” I first came upon this book about two years ago, whilst browsing second-hand bookstores with a friend. I must have been in a very good space back when I first read it because despite parts of the book standing out (read: scarring me) I remember it being quite explicit but not overtly traumatising. Fast-forward to present day when this book came up as my book club’s selection and I re-read it to refresh my memory. I was unprepared for the strong feelings of anger, hurt and disappointment that welled up inside of me for a book I was reading again. Let’s just say that this book definitely won’t leave you with the warm and fuzzies.