If we do not tell our stories, how will the future generations know they have a past? How will they find out who they are, where they are from, and where they are going? And are these questions not fundamental to human existence? If we do not leave our footprints behind, how will they know we were here? How will they know we walked on these shores, we lived, we loved?



Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.


This is a historical fiction that tells a multi generational story of a family from Ghana to America.
Effia is the daughter of Baaba and Cobbe, and while reading this book, I wanted to infiltrate into the story to give Baaba a dirty slap because why is she so cruel to her own daughter? She doesn’t love Effia and she doesn’t do anything to hide it, so Effia has to make do with what love she can get from her father’s end. She does everything within her power to win her mother over, but Baaba would not budge, she simply tosses Effia to the side and suffocates her with more cruelty. I didn’t know the reason for Baaba’s hostility towards Effia, till I progress in the book and learn the reason for her wickedness to the young girl.

You want to know what weakness is? Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves.

Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing.

When Effia turns twelve, she grows into a beautiful woman, who catches the fancy of the next village chief, Abeeku. Abeeku wants to marry her, but only when she becomes a woman, when she starts menstruating. So he’s patient and will wait till whenever that time comes. But Baaba has other plans. She gives Effia a palm frond to always stick inside her vagina to check for blood, and threatens her not to tell anyone when the blood comes. When Effia finally starts menstruating at the age of fifteen, her mother does everything within her power for her to be married off to James Collins, the newly appointed governor of the Cape Coast, and a white man. Baaba gives Effia a stone pendant and she goes to live with her husband in the castle. There, she realizes that some women in the dungeon are traded as slaves.

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 Gyasi, Homegoing.
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However, Esi, Effia’s half sister is among the women trapped in the dungeon. Unbeknownst to Effia, Baaba is not her biological mother, but a woman called Maame, Cobbe and Baaba’s house help who runs away the day Effia was born. She later finds out through Fiifi, her brother. On the day Esi is captured, Maame also leaves a stone pendant for her, but she loses it in the dungeon. This is where the story progresses. These two women goes on to birth children who birth children and the story follows them for seven generations. One side, Effia’s, remains in Africa, but the other is brought to America through slavery. While Effia retains her black stone which tells a generational story of the hardships the family has gone through over the years, Esi loses hers and so her generation finds it difficult to really trace and know their history.

No one forgets that they were once captive, even if they are now free.

Yaa Gyasi, Homegoing.

The generations of these sisters face tremendous challenges. For Effia’s descendants who remain in Africa, colonization deals with them, making it difficult for them to live freely, and also trapping them so they’re unable to escape. It doesn’t also get better for Esi’s descendants as well, because they have to suffer from racism and are the first to be targeted when any form of crime is being committed. However the climax of this story is when the final descendants of both sisters meet at Stanford. Marjorie and Marcus are unaware of their similar backgrounds, but enjoy each other’s company. They finally help each other overcome their generational trauma, and when Marjorie gives Marcus Effia’s pendant, they reunite and make peace with themselves.

I love that this book explores really sensitive and important themes, like Africans’ involvement in slave trade, and the consequences of colonialism, colorism, segregation and racism. It tells a really brave story of how Africa existed in the 1770s and how the skin color affects even the employability of an individual. This book is powerful, no doubt, but I found it confusing while reading it. It is told from the perspectives of so many characters that sometimes I become confused about who is who. I honestly found that technique boring at some point, but I surged on regardless. I highly recommend this book, as it is quite an interesting read. I love the narrative and descriptive techniques involved in it and I’ll rate it as 4/5.

Have you read the book? What do you feel about it? Please share your thoughts with me in the comment section. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on all social media platforms and share with your friends.
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  1. There’s hardly a person who’s selfless unconsciously, especially when they do not have filial links with whosoever deserves that selflessness from them. This is the sole reason I think altruism is a facade, an a sophisticated eye servive.

    Good review, my friend. Feels as though I have read the book. Keep working hard.

  2. Took me a while to figure out where the story is going when i read it but I ended up getting it and loved it so much. Its one of my fav books, I also fell inlove with the title. It gave me hope when I was in a place where I needed so much to go home. I would love to read more of Yaa Gyasi’s work.


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