NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Lezlie



Tuesday, October 28, 2008

ROOTS

by Alex Haley



If you've ever wondered if it was worth your time to tackle Roots: The Saga of an American Family, I'm here to tell you the answer is a resounding, "Yes!!" If this isn't the best book I've read this year, it is definitely the most affecting. Only one other book has made me think this deeply about being white and, yes, I'll say it, privileged, and personally ashamed of those despicable parts of our history when we treated other human being worse than animals. (The other book was Dances with Wolves. That one made me want to wash the white right off of me. I cried for days after finishing it.)

When Kunta Kinte was captured, as he was fighting to get away, even on the ship, I kept irrationally waiting for him to escape. Isn't that what is supposed to happen to the good guys? My gut tied in knots as his nightmare continued. I can't even imagine this type of thing being real. It is simply beyond my capabilities to understand treating other human beings so vilely. It sickens me to think this is such a large part of American history.

I could go completely off on my soap box but I'll refrain from so doing, because this story of Haley's ancestors surviving, overcoming, then thriving, hearing how Haley literally went back to his African roots to learn his family's story, made me heart-achingly proud at the same time. Proud of the diversity that makes this country great, proud of how far we have come, and proud of the country we still have the potential to be. All of us, together.

E pluribus unum -- Out of many, one.

13 comments:

Jeane said...

Roots is a fantastic book! But I tried once to watch the miniseries after having read the book a few times, and it just didn't compare. I had the opposite experience with Dances with Wolves. I saw that film first, and loved it. The book disappointed me- the writing style felt so bare, almost shallow...

bermudaonion said...

I remember when the mini-series ran for the first time. It was pre-VCRs and people were staying home so they wouldn't miss an episode. I've never thought of reading the book.

Michele at Reader's Respite said...

Lezlie - I just love it when someone reads and reminds me of a book I truly loved. It's been a long, long time since I read this book but I recall being riveted. I still have it on my shelf and reading a review like this makes me want to pull out this old favorite and reread it. Thanks!

ps...I'm with you 100% on the Dances With Wolves thing.

Lezlie said...

Jeane ~ I've never seen the film version of either one. After reading, I'd love to see Roots, but I'll never watch Dances With Wolves. I know I'll never be able to handle it. The book devastated me completely.

Bermudaonion ~ So, I'm not the only one who remembers the pre-VCR days? Yippee!! :-)

Michele ~ I hope you do! I can definitely see myself rereading this in the future. And I'm glad you understood the DWWs thing. I know it was a little harsh, but that was seriously how I felt. Like I said in the comment to Jeane, I was just devastated after I read that.

Teddy Rose said...

Excellent review Lezlie! This one has been on my TBR ever since I saw the mini series as a child. I'm sure the book will be even better.

joanna said...

I really want to read this too, but like so many other books it was always pushed aside... Sigh. And I didn't know that Dances with Wolves was a book and that good, that's going on my list too!

Lezlie said...

Teddy Rose ~ Thank you! There is so much to be said after reading this. It's hard to keep it succinct.

Joanna ~ I listened to the unabridged CDs, otherwise I may never have gotten to it either. I'm so glad I did! And as painful as Dances With Wolves was, I don't think I will ever, ever forget it or the effect it had on me. I still cry if I think too hard about it.

Lezlie

joanna said...

Have you read Bury my heart at wounded knee? If not, I think you'd be interested...

Lezlie said...

Joanna ~ I haven't. But it's one that I would like to read someday.

Lezlie

Ramya said...

i read this book at least 6 years ago and i still remember it soo well! it was an amazing book and still figures in my top 10 list!:)

Lezlie said...

Ramya ~ I won't know for sure for awhile, but Roots has the feel of making my All-Time Favorites list, too.

Lezlie

Dar said...

Great review Lezlie. I have thought of reading this one so many times but as of yet haven't. I'm thinking I probably should.

Lezlie said...

Dar ~ You definitely should. It's stunning.

Lezlie