Recently, I read, Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat. It makes sense that this is one of the past selections from Oprah’s Book Club. It’s poignant, raw, stimulating, informative and enlightening. In short, it’s about a girl who was born in Haiti and raised there by her aunt and grandmother until her mother sends for her to live in New York City. Her transition from the sheltered shores of Haiti to NYC is a definitive culture shock. And while dealing with this culture shock, she discovers that the demons from which her mother tried to escape when she left Haiti, are within her as well.
Common themes of mother/daughter relationships are present all throughout the book; the characters’ heritage adds a unique dynamic to these themes. Themes surrounding how America perceives and is perceived by poverty-stricken countries, are present as well. The in-depth perspective on Haitian life that is rarely explored in mainstream media was refreshing. I found myself visualizing the scenes in the book through the eyes of the author. The characters awakened my thoughts, feelings and emotions about the struggles and triumphs that I have experienced. If you’re looking for a book that’s more than just a fictional coming of age story, then this book is a must add to your list.