St. Joe’s – The Book Was Better

Create Group Magazine

The Door of No Return
I should have been more prepared for the outcome of this book, which is the first in a trilogy, given that I knew it was set in Africa during the time of the slave trade. The first part introduced me to a part of the world and a part of history that I had barely any knowledge or understanding of, and though it starts brutally with a zealous teacher punishing Kofi Offin for not using the Queen's English, I was easily caught up in the beautifully lyrical descriptions of life in Kofi Offin's Ghanaian home. His love of learning, love for his family, his friendships and rivalries and blossoming feelings for a friend, all lull you into believing that life is beautiful, free and only slightly overshadowed by the complicated tribal history of the area. Even when Kofi's brother is involved in a terrible accidental misfortune, even then I laboured under the belief that ancient treaties and years of shared struggle would mean a swift and friendly resolution to the tensions that arise mid-way through the story. So when I say I was unprepared for what happened next, I felt as if this was in fact the point. This book made me realise that it is wrong that I don't know more about, not just the slave trade, but also the rich history of places like Ghana. I should know and I should read this history from the mouths of the people who carry the tales from generation to generation. This book does have some horrible content, but it is necessary content and I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy and hopefully to seeing this book used in schools. I do love Kwame Alexander's writing and am a fan of verse novels so this was absolutely up my street.

Mrs McCarthy