Oh, this book. I don’t think I’ll see things the same way ever again.
Brother, I’m Dying, the story of the deaths of the two men who raised Edwidge–her father and her uncle, was profoundly and deeply affecting. Like many kids whose parents are emigrating to the U.S., Danticat and her brother remained behind in Haiti as first their father and then their mother emigrated.
Throughout the beginning of the book I was struck by how private Danticat was with sharing info with her family, but then, I realized why. For years, when she was able to speak to her parents, it was over the phone with her uncle telling her what to say, and when she wrote, her uncle always checked over her writing to make sure her English was good.
When I wrote in the title that this book was deeply affecting, I truly meant it. On multiple levels, Danticat’s story did deeply affect me. As an American citizen now, Danticat didn’t spend a lot of time bashing the U.S. policy in Haiti, but she was very clear in sharing how the U.S.’s influence was both positive and negative. Regardless of the U.S.’s influence, reading about young children living in a war- and conflict-torn country was incredibly saddening, and to know there are so many children living in similar situations today makes the first-hand account even more impactful.
Additionally, the reader learns toward the end what it was like (at least in the early to mid 2000s) for Haitians, who feared for their life in their home country, to try to emigrate to the U.S. In fact, Danticat even makes it clear that Cubans who illegally enter the country, washing up on Miami’s beaches, are treated better than Haitians who have clearance to enter (but not stay) in the U.S. It’s sad, scary and needs to be changed.
With years of experience, Robin Miles is an amazing voice talent. Her Haitian accent and Creole-laced sentences were lyrical and beautiful to hear. There wasn’t a single point when I felt the reading was a miss.
Writing 5 out of 5 stars
Storytelling 5 out of 5 stars
Cultural Impact 5 out of 5 stars
Reading Performance 5 out of 5 stars
Total: 5 out of 5 stars
Have you read or listened to any of Danticat’s work? What did you think?
What is the most deeply affecting book you’ve ever read?