Book Review: Breath,Eyes and Memory
Author: Edwidge Danticat
This Oprah Club’s book is about lives of Haitian women, their pains and suffering, and their brave contemplative struggle to make themselves free of it, to set their breath, eyes and memory free of that agony and pain, and finally to live a better life.
The book is basically concentrated on the life of a protagonist Sophie, and the people associated with her. Her aunt Attie with whom she spent her childhood, her mother , who lives in the States for some reason, and her grandmother who wanted her children’s well being, and utilizes her ability to see past vision to bring peace in their lives. The story starts with Sophie as a 12 year old girl and Aunt Attie living alone in Haiti, oblivious to the outside world, and for Sophie even to her mother and grandmother. She was brought up and reared up by her Aunt in that Haitian village. It was when she went to her mother, and her life transformed from a child to the puberty period, did she start facing the pain and agony that the women of this family were destined to face. She came to the realization of her mother’s suffering and to the reason of her being brought up by her Aunt and not by her mother. She saw her family every moment getting burnt in that
The book moved on with the description of Sophie’s life from her child hood, to her adolescence, to getting married, and then her after life. Author has very simply descried the events, and has been very direct in describing the pain of the people’s life. The pace of how the situations turn up in the book is a bit slow, but nevertheless one will continue to read the book, because of the simple and the honest portrayal of the characters.
Author at the end has tried to explain the readers in a good preachy way that how can one be free of any past memory or incident. Even while reading it, one incident glowed up in my eyes (from my life), that happened some six years back. It keeps coming to me, and may be while writing this I am trying to be free of it, but don’t know I may also have to do things in other ways to rub it off completely from my breath, eyes and memory.
The book is a good read for people who love to observe things and people around, and obviously if you are new to reading then read it after some time.