Review: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is a book that really had my emotions running wild. I was taken through a long journey, and yet I managed to stay hooked. I think Yaa Gyasi did a great job with the book. I don’t know how the book managed to find itself amongst my yet-to-be-read pile of eBooks, but I was attracted to the title ‘Homegoing’ as it reminded me of that American event known as ‘homecoming’. Secondly, I liked the name of the author, Yaa Gyasi, because it reminded me of Yagazi Emezi, a photographer I dig a lot.
Related: An Ode to Nigerian Creatives
I hadn’t read any reviews on the book, so I was pretty blank when I opened the first chapter on a boring weekday afternoon. Little did I know, I was about to go on a journey.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – My Description
Homegoing is a book about roots – as the name suggests, it explores a theme of connecting back to ones origins. It tells the story of lives lived, stemming from one person, Effia, the first character we’re introduced to.
You know how the bible at some point starts saying ‘X begot Y, Y begot Z’?
Well, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi was exactly just that, yet less headache inducing (lord knows I struggled through that part of the bible). It is a story that tells of pain and joy, how decisions can change lives forever. At it’s core also, it speaks on the disarray caused by the slave trade – especially to those who were the slaves.
I’m not one who has read many books about slavery, or watched too many movies. Django and 12 Years a Slave are the only films on slavery I’ve watched so far. I don’t recall any book. However, this book is excellent. I loved the story telling, and though I got confused with the new names at each chapter, I still managed to keep on track. I got close to each character in each chapter, and I loved both sides of the stories told. The story is basically split in half – those who stay in Africa, and those who were taken to America. It was just too good! I have never known much about Ghana apart from the Nigerian Jollof v. Ghana Jollof war we have going on, but Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi really opened my eyes and imaginations. The book primarily featured female characters who were so strong. It really explored so many topics – slavery, racism, colorism, overcoming challenges, displacement, substance abuse – there were just so many topics!
Heart-wrenching at different points, and the wonderful way the story was told, made me realize how crazy life can be. Events can shape people and affect the individuals that come from those people. It really made me question things, like why did slavery happen, why people suffer. It also made me more sensitive to the African American identity plight. The ending was a killer though! I really wish they’d found that important item we were introduced to in the first few chapters.
Either way, I’d give it a solid 10/10. I’m no professional critic, and I like a good story. Yaa Gyasi had me coming back for more. She also made me curious, and I saw myself doing some light research on things I saw in the book – people like Yaa Asantewaa, the meaning of the name Yaa (it means born on a Thursday). There were no major flaws I could note, but then some may find it hard to keep up with the stories of all the chracters. I love the stories though! My favourite characters – Effia, Yaw, John, Marjorie, Abena, Esi, Ness.. frankly they were all amazing.
If you’ve been wondering about this book, I’d definitely say read it! If you haven’t heard about Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi before, then why not add this to your read list for 2018? I’m no book blogger, but I had to talk about this one.
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