Reader reviews and comments on Someone Knows My Name, plus links to write your own review.

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Someone Knows My Name

aka: The Book of Negroes

by Lawrence Hill

Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill X
Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • First Published:
    Nov 2007, 512 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2008, 512 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Stacey Brownlie

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There are currently 18 reader reviews for Someone Knows My Name
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Barbara (11/20/07)

Outstanding
This book was engaging from the very beginning and I could not put it down. The character development, descriptions and plot were all extraordinary and although long it was well-paced. It is impossible not be drawn in by the main character and narrator, Aminata.

This book provides a fresh perspective on the horrors of slavery and prejudice. Knowing historical facts is so different than reading someone's first hand account of those events (even if in the context of historical fiction). Some characters stay with you long after the book is over and Aminata is one who I won't forget.
Barbara (11/20/07)

A Superb Tale
Hill's book is a powerful story of Aminata Diallo's struggle from her young girlhood to very later life. It is a superb tale which will keep you reading, from her abduction in a remote African village, to South Carolina, to Nova Scotia, to Sierra Leone to London ..... always trying to keep her identity and finding her way back to HER culture!

I truly enjoyed this horrific journey...a woman's view of her struggle every day of her life. It would be a fantastic book for a book club to discuss, especially one containing women! It could be considered comparable to "Roots"... only I identified more with this book. The strength of the human spirit is amazingly portrayed here with fabulous descriptive language ...... you will the "there" with Aminata when reading!!
Aleta (11/20/07)

An Unflinching Look at History
The story of Aminata Diallo chronicles not only her capture as a child in Africa, but also her subsequent search for freedom in many unforeseen places and circumstances. As events unfold, Hill highlights a little known chapter of American and Canadian history inspired by The Book of Negroes: a real document describing blacks who, as a reward for their service to the King, retreated from the Thirteen Colonies to Nova Scotia after the Revolutionary War.

Although the characters are fictional, they have tangible roots in research that provide an intensely personal, sometimes visceral, look at real events. As a result, the fates of Aminata, her family and friends become increasingly important. Balancing the inevitable cruelties of slavery are the courage, will, compassion, and humor that breathe life into the tale. Too graphic for younger readers, the unflinching truths of the book seem both appropriate and compelling for anyone who is old enough to digest the evening news and survive to watch again. I finished the book quickly to discover the final circumstances of an indomitable woman and was not disappointed. When I read the last words, I closed the book with a thump and a smile
Darlene (11/14/07)

Book clubs take note!
After a few chapters, I expected to see a novel I had seen before, that of "Roots" by Alex Haley, but I was very wrong and was soon riveted to the life story of Aminata Diallo.

What made this book enjoyable was the unpredictability of the story line, the believable maturation of Aminata's psyche from child-like innocence to the wisdom of experience, and finally an epic that is beautifully told.

This would be a wonderful book for any book club as there are a number of issues, besides slavery, which would make for a lively discussion.
Nicolette (11/14/07)

A Fascinating Read
I really enjoyed this book. It is very easy to get into. The main character--Aminata--is so vivid and real that you will feel as if you know her. You will be able to relate to her instantly. I would recommend this book to others who enjoy reading historical fiction. In fact, I think it is a great book for discussion and plan to suggest it to my book club.
Power Reviewer
Lani (11/14/07)

Someone Knows My Name
How can one not be intrigued with a book whose first sentence reads,"I seem to have trouble dying."? This historical fiction novel of a young African child educates one to the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade in a painful raw voice. What was remarkable to me is how well this male author was able to give authenticity to a female child's voice and her transition to a woman. Indeed, the novel had wonderful melodic sections, well developed and distinct voices, superb storytelling and dramatic tension. I read the 486 page book in two days. Needless to say, sleep was unimportant when reading such a masterpiece!
Eileen (11/14/07)

Amazing tale of slavery
This is an absorbing, powerful novel that transports the reader to a distant time and place with an ease that is truly amazing. Hill’s intelligent and resourceful narrator, Aminata Diallo, has a wonderfully clear, strong voice. Her tale is just as much about the power of kindness and optimism as it is about the destructiveness of hatred and selfishness. It would be an excellent book club selection.
John (11/14/07)

Compelling story of identify and understanding
I just finished Hill's third novel and found in Aminata Diallo a compelling character. Aminata, known as Meena, is forced into a journey of self-exploration and identity after being enslaved. As the novel seemlessly moves across 50+ years, Aminata searches for a role in a society that enslaves and then elevates her. Although it is easy for some to compare this book to other books with similar plots (the survival of slaves in the Americas), Hill transcends the genre by creating a well-researched search for identity. Propelled by the wise words of her father and mother, Aminata nevers forgets her childhood in Africa; but, like any good journey story, Aminata is confused about her role in the quest. She believes that it is to return to her village, but her role is greater: she is a speaker for her people, a djeli (storyteller). Hill has the ability to move a story along quickly, considering the length, with involving secondary characters and poetic prose. Like Aminata, Hill is a capable and engaging storyteller.
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