Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat

Sophie Caco lives with her aunt in Haiti while her mother has escaped from life and a rape to New York. At the age of 12, Sophie is summoned by her mother to New York and she has to leave everything she knows behind for a new world. Her mother is haunted by dreams of the rape that produced Sophie every night, and every night Sophie wakes her mother and "saves her".

When Sophie's mother realizes that Sophie is starting to fall in love, Sophie is "tested" to make sure that she is still pure. This traumatizes Sophie for the rest of her life. Yet Sophie's mom tells her stories of how and why her mother did it to her. Eventually, Sophie runs away to be with her soon to be husband, has a child, and travels back to Haiti where she learns more about what and why her mother has done.

Of all the Oprah Book Club books that I have read, I've found this one the easiest to read. It reads like an auto-biography, and I suspect that it follows pretty closely to Danticat's own life and her experiences in Haiti. There is a prominent member of the Canadian government right now that is a Haitian native and when the book speaks of Haitian beauty, I picture this individual who is stunning!

I really enjoyed the folk stories that the grandmother, aunt, and mother tell their children. I don't know much about Haitian culture so it was nice to read about that. Since I've never been in a situation that is even close to what Sophie and her mother have been in, I couldn't quite understand their relationship. Being that there is abuse involved, I guess I can't be surprised that Oprah chose it as her book club book. If you're going to read it, read it for the tales and information on Haiti!



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