Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

I say with confidence that Homegoing is the best book I have read in 2017 so far and am feeling strongly that another read won't surpass it. This one had been on my shelf for about a year but when I read that Mashreads here in NYC was hosting a bookclub with the author, I had to finally hop on it. I read for two days straight and it has been making its way into all of my conversations since. The incredible story follows the family tree over the course of 300 years rooted from two sisters who never met, born in Ghana. Sure, it could easily be a story about the birth of slavery, but I would say nah, it's a story about how strong family ties are. If you read only one book from my suggestions this year, read this. 

This book is packed with overwhelming beautiful excerpts that required me to reread seven times before I grabbed my pen to underline + dog ear the pages (YES I AM THAT PERSON, LEAVE ME ALONE ALREADY). The way family trees and each character that the reader is introduced with just enough detail to make you want to know enough but a little hungry for more was incredibly refreshing and all-consuming. As soon as I finished, I had this intense feeling of sorrow for not being able to know the family tree of every single person that has ever existed. My great grandmother turned 101 a few weeks back (and still lives alone!) and while I have grown up in a family of strong lineage and stories being passed down from generation to generation, it still isn't enough. The stories in Homegoing of each family member capture an overview of the person's life or reasoning, while also sharing a small sliver in time where things all changed for those that were coming after them. Oye, incredible. 

“The need to call this thing “good” and this thing “bad,” this thing “white” and this thing “black,” was an impulse that Effia did not understand. In her village, everything was everything. Everything bore the weight of everything else.” 
― Yaa GyasiHomegoing

“You cannot stick a knife in a goat and then say, "now I will remove my knife slowly - so let things be easy and clean; let there be no mess." There will always be blood.” 
― Yaa GyasiHomegoing

I am guilty of idolizing normal people and turning common folk into celebrities in my eyes, so it's not shocking that I was fangirlin' when I got to hear Yaa speak last week. The entire short hour, I was in utter awe of how someone (SO YOUNG) could write something so beautiful and seem completely unfazed by how incredible what she has created truly was. Also, I ran into her on the street last week and was weirdly star struck and regretted not shouting in passing- "OMG, HOMEGOING! THANK YOU!"

On a final note, my favorite book ever is A Little Life (beating a dead horse here, whatever)- but Homegoing comes in at a close second place. I have yet to be wrong about the strong recommendation of A Little Life (and all 22 copies and counting that I have gifted to friends, coworkers, family members, and more) and I know that Homegoing will be the same. I miss it already. Please read it and thank me later. 

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