The Dragons, the Giant, the Women

Graywolf. Jun. 2020. 264p. ISBN 9781644450314. $26. MEMOIR
Recounting her childhood experience during the Liberian Civil War, Moore’s (She Would Be King) memoir takes readers from a child’s journey to a mother’s memory, recounting the horrors of her family’s flight to safety, the displacement of diaspora, and the everyday challenges of being African in America. Opening with her father’s decision to flee with his three young daughters and their grandparents, Moore describes the weeks-long journey (and the horrors witnessed) with a lyric quality that reads like a fireside story. She then describes the different “seasons” of her life, considering her experience as an African among African Americans, and what it’s like to date well-meaning white men, before inevitably asking the question that continues to haunt her: Why her mother was in America when her family’s lives were torn apart.
VERDICT Moore’s narrative style shines, weaving moments of lightness into a story of pain and conflict, family and war, loss and reunion. Recommended for readers of women’s stories and those interested in learning about African lived experience both on the continent and in the diaspora.
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