Sunday, April 17, 2016

#Roots - The Read-Along Discussion One


I apologize for the delay in getting this discussion post up. Seems I'm always running behind.

So, what did you think of our first section, through Chapter 37? I'll share my thoughts and then you can join in on the discussion in the comments, or leave the link to your blog post.

I was actually surprised that the entire almost 200 pages was dedicated to Kunta's childhood in the Gambia. This surprise is mainly based on the fact that I watched the first Roots mini-series at a fairly young age (I was eight) and I don't remember it spending too much time exploring Kunta's early life. That being said, I found this descriptive narrative of his adolescence to be an effective method of showing us the true concept of his freedom in contrast to the horror of being captured and held in the slave ship.

There are hardships as Kunta is growing up. Namely, famine and the strict rules he must live by. However, we are also shown the beauty of nature in his land and the importance of the oral traditions passed down through generations. We see that Kunta had a good life filled with family, hopes and dreams. I love that Haley shows us Kunta's culture and life so vividly. We get a very real idea of what freedom meant to him and what it feels like when it's taken away.

I am really enjoying this book and I can't believe I waited this long to read it!

What do you think of it so far? Share your thoughts.


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8 comments:

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  1. I am so glad to be reading this book, finally! Like you, I was surprised at the amount of time the book gave to Kunta's life in Africa. I actually don't think I started watching Roots until Kunta was a slave in America, so I didn't realize how much of the story is his birth, youth, and family. I found it fascinating. For me the biggest surprise was that Kunta and his people were Muslim. Call me ignorant, but I didn't realize that slaves who were captured had been touched by the rest of the world to that degree before being captured. This new knowledge actually helps me understand the current politica/religious makeup of the world much better.

    It's amazing that anyone could survive that slave ship, toubob or otherwise. I can't help but wonder at the origin of the word toubob.

    I'm really looking forward to reading how Kunta learns English--I assume he does. Language is a fascinating thing--he learned to write in Arabic, which is the same alphabet, so perhaps that is the avenue.

    Thanks for hosting this, Michelle. I know you are busy with work, family, and life, but it's really great to have a place to chat about Roots.

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    1. Yes, Jane, I was surprised by them being Muslims as well. That was not touched on in the original mini-series (that I can remember). Knowing this gives us more insight into the fact that they were indeed civilized and not mere savages.

      You're welcome, Jane. I'm trying to keep up! Can't wait to read further and see what surprises are in store next. It will be interesting to read how he learns English.

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  2. I am in full agreement with you, Michelle, regarding the book's descriptive narrative of Kunta's life in the Gambia. While I loved the mini-series, it could not compare to the book's detail of his culture. I read the book when it was published in the 70s and thoroughly enjoyed it. Now, reading it again, I am even more engrossed as I was the first time.

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    1. I remember you reading it back then and I'm so glad that you let me watch the mini-series when it originally aired. I'm glad that you're rereading the book and enjoying it. :)

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  3. My goodness, a book I haven't read in I don't care to think about how long. So good to see learn of this Read-a-thon. If I wasn't so behind with my reviews I may well have joined you.

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    1. Wish you could, Tracy. My mom read it in the 70s and she's rereading. I think it's one of those books that is worth a reread.

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  4. I watched the miniseries a month or so ago, so I can see the differences plainly. Really, there isn't much, though. Yes, there was more detail in the book about Kunta's childhood in Africa than in the miniseries, but I imagine there will be more detail in the book all the way through. So, no, I wasn't even a little surprised at how long it spent discussing Kunta's childhood.

    Michelle, focuses on the hardships that Kunta had growing up, but my impression was how happy he was at home with his family. I think Haley was trying to give the reader the impression that THIS is where Kunta belonged.

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    1. Yes, I came to that same conclusion. The focus right off, and in length, of his early life was meant to show his happiness and the freedom he enjoyed in contrast to his later capture and captivity as a slave.

      Glad to have you joining us, Rachel.

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