What Are You Reading?: Hannah Stokes

What book are you reading currently? (don’t worry—no spoliers!)

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing is basically a story of the ancestry of 2 sisters from the same tribe in Africa, separated at birth, following their families all the way from the beginnings of the slave trade, through the post-segregated 80’s in America. 

What has been your favorite thing about the book?

My favorite thing about the book has been that the book jumps from family to family, so the whole time you are putting together this puzzle piece of a family tree. This book is gut wrenching at parts, but also so helpful especially today when race relations is such a hot topic on the news. 

How has this book challenged you?

I think the main thing that challenged me in this book is the power of narrative. The author used each character so specifically to tell a different story. Even closely related characters had their own seprate story and experience to tell, each one as equally important as the other. It really showed me just how important it is to listen to people’s stories knowing that it has shaped them in to who they are—especially someone who has come out of something as disheartening and massive as the injustice of the slave trade. This book is has opened my eyes to some of the most painful aspects of our American history that must be told in order to grow and change.  

Do you relate to any of the characters/if so why?

I think I relate more to the author and her passion for connection. It is evident that she values the art of creating a web of characters. I admire this about her and her ability to transcend themes from the beginning of the book all the way to the last page. This writing style brings the book to a deeper level, creating a greater bond between the reader and the characters. 

Would you recommend this to your friends?

I would recommend this to my friends but with the disclaimer that there is a lot of mature content in it. Yaa does not shy away from telling the bitter and gruesome details of life on a slave trade ship, the abuse of slave-run plantations in southern America, and the pain of segregation. Though it is mature content, I think it is such an important novel for people to read in light of the climate of race relations in America today. Changing a culture requires us to understand a person’s story, to step outside of our world view, and learn from those who are different from us. 



My name is Hannah Stokes and I am a 22 year old college grad from The College at Southeastern. I got my degree in English simply because literature is astounding to me and I wish I could study it forever and ever. I currently work at a non-profit, managing their social media and marketing, and I run my own photography business on the side (www.hannahcstokesphotography.com). I love Raleigh, I was born and raised in Atlanta, but honestly if you need me, you can find me at any place even resembling a beach.

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