Thursday, March 23, 2017

Roots Review

Roots by Alex Haley

Roots follows a family through several generations from Kunta Kinte, who was taken from his home in Gambia and sold into slavery, to his descendants who lived to see a time when they were no longer slaves.

This is a very powerful story.  No matter how much is true.  The controversy did take away from the book somewhat for me, especially at the end when the author is speaking to me as the reader and talking about his personal journey to write this book.  Which is unfortunate.  Because this is a good story and the feelings and sentiments here are true.  And I kind of got mad at Haley for putting the unfavorable impression into my head that I couldn’t quite get rid of as I read.  But I was easily able to become very involved with the characters.  I got a feeling for how life was for Kunta in his village.  I felt I knew him and his family.  I cared about them.  Which made the story of what happened to him a very emotional one for me.  It was interesting to see how Kunta was so different from the slaves who had been born slaves, how attitudes toward how the system worked could be so different among people who were all in the same position.  And I liked that it crossed several generations so you could see how time changed those attitudes in Kunta and the generations to come.  I do think Kunta Kinte was the best part and the book lost a little something when he left the story.  I understood why the story moved on but I wished we could go back and see what had happen to him.  The dialogue is written in dialect and that took me a while to get used to and there were some parts that I had to go back and read again out loud to figure out what was being said but I don’t think there was any other way this story could be told.  Despite the controversy surrounding Alex Haley and the writing of this book it is still very much a story worth telling and reading.

1 comment:

J.G. said...

Sounds like this is a book you're glad you read, even if you didn't enjoy every page. Sometimes those are the best books, overall. I think it's good to stretch our reading tastes (hence, the BYRC). Thanks!