Friday, January 15, 2010

#BookReview: Guest Post: The Book of Night Women by Marlon James

Today's guest blogger is Yolonda Spinks.

Imagine yourself on a sugar plantation in Jamaica during the late eighteenth century. You are forced to endure the stronghold of slavery but you feel out of place, peculiar and different. Something deep inside is telling you that you don’t belong here but you have no where to run and no where to hide. All you have is a dream that someone will see past your black skin into your green eyes and rescue you. I know it seems crazy but this is the life of Lillith, the main character in The Book of Night Women.

Lillith, the daughter of a teenage slave girl and the plantation overseer, is raised in a home with a man and woman that she calls mother and father but she shares no resemblance. Deep in her heart she knows that she is different. Not only does Lillith know that she is different but the Night Women also know as they secretly keep an eye on her. As Lillith matures and comes face-to-face with her “darkness,” she is rescued by Homer, the leader of the Night Women. Homer is sure that Lillith just may be the one that will make their plot of a slave revolt successful.

I must admit, I have never read a book written with the eloquence, detail and imagery used by Marlon James to bring the Night Women to life. James not only created characters that I could relate to but he created women characters that any woman could relate to. The Night Women possessed strength, gumption, skill and a desire for freedom and they were willing to get it at any cost. These women led by Homer, a house slave, were not fazed by the absence of men in this plot. They carried the load as they strategically used their plantation jobs to work for them so they could have eyes everywhere at once.

I must add, in the beginning I wasn’t sure about this book because the patois/dialect frustrated me initially but I endured and it was well worth my time. I would recommend this book to anyone as a must-read and I nominate James for the Pulitzer Prize (if he is an American citizen that is.) However, for now, Marlon James is the 2009 award winner of the Spinks Prize for literary fiction.

P.S. I will be re-reading this book. It was just that good!

Yolonda Spinks is new to the blogging world, but loves reading books and sharing her opinions. A senior in college majoring in journalism, she also gives community presentations on infant mortality and its affect on African Americans.

For more reviews by Yolonda, please visit her at Notorious Spinks Talks or follow her on Twitter @NotoriousSpinks.

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