HomegoingHomegoing by Yaa Gyasi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read “Homegoing” as part of my library’s book club. I didn’t finish it in time for the book club meeting, but I had heard good things about it so I wanted to make sure I fit this into my reading schedule. I ended up reading it on a road trip, which helped me enjoy this book more than if I read this in bits and pieces.

“Homegoing” is the story of two half-sisters, neither knowing of the other, who’s families are affected by the slave trade in what is now Ghana. One sister stays in Africa and the other ends up in what will become the United States. This is a novel about a family and as such, each chapter is the next generation’s point of view and alternates between each of the sisters’s families.

It took me a few chapters to adjust to this format, but in the end it really felt like the book was moving forward. While I wasn’t sure what to think of meeting new characters each chapter, it ended helping me connect to the characters because I was looking to see how their lives played out in their children’s chapters.

The older I’ve become, the more I realize that history isn’t as distant as it may appear in history books. This book shows that perfectly. One decision in one generation can have consequences for generations to come. I felt that the reality in this book wasn’t overwhelming even though there’s some tough events that happen. In Yaa Gyasi’s hands, the plot doesn’t shy away from these events, but it doesn’t feel like these events are JUST meant to shock the audience. One of the characters in the more modern chapters has an English teacher that talks about books that we can feel inside of us. This is one of those books for me.

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