Often when someone dies, our memories of them become exaggerated. We remember all of their good traits and focus on them as if they were some kind of superhuman while they walked the earth. Instead of reflecting on their bad qualities and remembering them as they were, it's almost as if we put on blinders and elevate them an angel-like level. In Bridgett M. Davis' Into the Go-Slow, we find 21 year old Angie tracing the footsteps of her deceased sister, Ella, and trying to fit in the missing pieces of the puzzle that she was.
As the youngest of three sisters, Angie witnessed Ella's need to shine in the eyes of their father and her rebellious spirit when dealing with her mother. Middle sister Denise was always sensible. And baby Angie just fit in where she could, carrying the heavy load of watching Angie tumble off her pedestal and trying to save her when no one else would.
Whether Angie's recollection of Ella is clouded because of her young age at the time of Ella's death or because she engaged in older sibling hero worship, it becomes apparent that the Ella she thought she knew was not the person she really was. Deciding to reconnect with those who really did know Ella, Angie goes to Nigeria to find out what really happened to her in her final days.
From Detroit to Nigeria, Davis takes readers on a sometimes painful, yet engaging, journey. She captures the spirit of the late eighties; a Detroit beginning to crumble under Reaganomics, student activists' newly found awareness of South Africa's apartheid structure, and injustices around the world. She vividly paints a picture of Fela's Nigeria as experienced through Ella and re-told to Angie. And she does it all masterfully.
Published: September 2014
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.