It always amazes me when I come across someone who hasn't read this book. For most it's assigned in school, but just word of mouth is enough to have made this a popular one. And for good reason. This is an extremely powerful book.
Born in Africa,
Kunta Kinte was the oldest son of his father Omoro and mother Binta.
Though quickly followed by several other sons, he is the man of the
family and the first to go through all the different rights and
teachings of his tribe. Until he is caught by slavers and sold in
America where he becomes a slave. And from him comes several
generations, some also slaves, who continue his legacy and story of
Africa and hope for a better future.
The primary characters in
this book are Kunta Kinte and his grandson Chicken George. The first
half of the book is about Kunta and a big portion of it is his
childhood. He is a thoughtful person and spends a lot of time
daydreaming and thinking about his village and the life there. He also
has very strong convictions. Chicken George is more fun loving and laid
back. He enjoys his comforts and I found him somewhat irritating at
times because of the way he treated his family. The women don't get as
much time in this book, and I was a little disappointed in that. I
would have liked them to have just as big of roles as the men in the
book. Kunta's daughter Kizzy gets a bit, but the focus is really more
on her son.
Some of the events in this book are very tragic and
brutal. Even more so because it's about situations that happened in
real life. In fact, this is actually part non-fiction. It's the story
of the author's family and the research he did was thorough. Sure he
didn't know all the conversations and everything that happened, so some
is fiction, but its based off of true events. And the horrors of
slavery are clearly expressed in this book. Some may express
disappointment that you don't get to find out what happens to some of
the characters, but I think this is very realistic of what happened in
life as their own family members didn't know what happened in most
cases. It's a hard book to put down despite it being about sad topics
though. You genuinely want to find out what happens to this family.
One of the better books out there and truly one that everyone should read. At least in my opinion.