Review: Someone Knows My Name

Someone Knows My NameSomeone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Someone Knows My Name” by Lawrence Hill was awesome…it’s about a woman, Aminata Diallo, also known as Meena Dee, who was born in Africa; however, she is captured by slave traders, shipped overseas and sold into slavery in St. Helena Island, S.C. From S.C., she also is sold as an indentured servant in Charles Town (later to be known as Charleston), and, from Charles Town, she travels to New York with her master, Solomon Lindo.

Arriving in New York, Meena is captivated by the opportunity presented to slaves to make a life for themselves and become free; as a result, she runs away from Lindo and makes a life for herself by performing domestic chores and teaching others to read and write, since this was something that she had learned very well.

After a while, Meena soon finds herself in the middle of a war thereby making it unsafe for runaway slaves. She begins serving the British as a way to escape and travels to Nova Scotia. During this time, Meena loses her husband whom she married in secret ceremony when she was a slave in S.C. Her 1st-born, a son, was also stolen from her by her master in S.C. before she was sold in Charles Town.

Meena strives to make a life for herself in Nova Scotia, having been pregnant with her 2nd child when she arrived. She serves as a maid, still teaches others to read and write and picks up another trade of setting type print for a local newspaper in Nova Scotia.

Several years past, and Meena is able to travel again…back to Africa this time as part of a British expedition to allow free blacks to start their own colony. They soon find that life back in Africa is still trying and difficult, but Meena does capture the eye of a British abolitionist, John Clarkson who longs to take her back to England to further support his group’s cause of demolishing the trading of slaves.

Meena accepts after trying to travel back to the land where she was born and barely escaping being sold back into slavery. She arrives in England and helps the abolitionist with their cause, reunites with her daughter, whom she had lost in Nova Scotia who was stolen from her by her wealthy employers, and writes her life story.

“Somebody Knows My Name” inspired me so much, and, during my synopsis, I omitted a lot because I didn’t want to give away the story and because I would really be writing for days. It has taught me to not take my life and freedom for granted and to take advantage of every oportunity I have to learn something new. And what really impressed me is that this story is a work of fiction…Mr. Hill researched extensively before writing this book and explains after the story that “Someone Knows My Name” is a work of his imagination.

I just can’t say enough about this book…it was beautiful, moving, educational…it was very difficult for me to put it down really. In my opinion, Mr. Hill is the “grand djeli.”

I give it 5 stars.

P.S.  “Someone Knows My Name” was provided on-loan by my local library.

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