Alex Haley: Roots The Saga of an American Family

by Rachel Baker on March 11, 2008

Roots the saga of an american family, alex haleyI finished Roots sometime during the last week of February. I started it the second week of February and I feel like I’ve just lived through 258 years on fast forward. That’s seven generations for anybody counting. As silly as it may sound, every time I look at the book laying on my chair, I still feel exhausted!

Let me tell you…I loved this book! I laughed, I cried, I despised, I admired, I hated, and I loved. I don’t normally get that range of emotions from any one book. I had tears streaming down my face during the last chapter. George Haley died, and we didn’t know all THAT much about George compared to Kizzy, Chicken George, Tom Murray, Kunta Kinte (Toby) to name a few. I cried because it was the end of the story as it was being told. I felt a sense of completion I didn’t want to feel – the same sense of completion I felt when Kizzy was sold. It wasn’t that the story was over when when Kizzy was sold, it was that Kunte’s part of the story was over when Kizzy was sold. It was up to her to continue the story, and up to her to keep Kunta’s story going. I cried, because what if she couldn’t do it? Obviously, the book Roots, shows she was able to continue passing on Kunta’s story.

I can’t help but think about the great legacy that Haley’s left the future generations of his family. In a sense what he’s given to future generations as great as Kunta’s legacy of the stories he taught Kizzy to pass on to her children and grandchildren to pass on to theirs. Whether everything in this book is fact or not, the stories of who these people were will be come true family lore generations from now. Over the past few weeks, I’ve wondered about the Haley family sense the end of Roots. How has the story continued?

If you have never read Roots, I suggest reading it. I have to warn you about something though. Read this book without reading anything else. I got halfway through the book, and took a two day break to read something else. When I picked up Roots again, the language was a bit difficult to get back into. After Kunta is taken to America most of the language “spoken” is the colloquial slave diction. Haley did a fantastic job of easing his readers into understanding the language, but if you have interrupted reading, its difficult to pick it back up. When I realized this phenomenon I was intrigued and wanted to be sure to mention this. This book is meant to be read solo, and I believe you won’t enjoy it as much otherwise.

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