The Book of Negroes (aka Someone Knows My Name) is a great work of historical fiction. The story weaves together the Revolutionary War, the Book of Negroes, migration of Black people to Nova Scotia and Liberia, and the abolitionist movement in London. It’s clear that the author did a lot of research and the historical events provide a rich backdrop for the story.
In some ways Manchild in the Promised Land is a book about a rambunctious boy and his group of friends coming of age in the 1940s-1950s. In a different place and if Claude Brown were a different race, this could have been an innocent and heart-warming story. But, on the gritty streets of Harlem, Claude’s life is rife with violence, crime, and despair from a young age.
Homegoing is a work of historical fiction but it’s a good jumping off point for venturing into the history of the Black diaspora. If you’re a fan of Roots, you’d also enjoy Homegoing. I’d especially recommend the book for young adults and adults who are trying to get into reading. The book and chapters are quite short which makes it very easy to pick up the book, read a chapter, and put it down. It’s not the kind of book that requires a lot of focused time.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead tells the story of Cora, a young slave woman who makes plans to escape with a fellow slave, Caesar. I decided to read The Underground Railroad after seemingly seeing it everywhere. I thought the book was pretty good but not as amazing as I expected it to be. By all means, The Underground Railroad is a solid book but I still don’t get why it was being pushed as an amazing novel. I enjoyed the book but it wasn’t life changing.
Watch Me Fly is more than the story of the widow of a civil rights hero. It’s also the story of a rather sheltered woman who struggles to find herself in her thirties after her world is ripped apart. I’d recommend Watch Me Fly if you’re interested in the Civil Rights Movement or the Black experience. But, the book also delves into Myrlie’s personal journey and her quest to improve herself. Watch Me Fly could also be very appealing if you’re into self-help books or are looking for motivation to become better versions of themselves.