We have been keen on launching a ‘book review segment’ for a long time now and are thrilled to finally get this live. This column will feature some best-sellers that tackles real world discussions, inspiring content and will spark productive dialogues between all of you readers. Written and rated 5 stars by Vanathy Arul, today’s review highlights the memoir ‘Dreams From My Father’ by Barack Obama:
” The thing is, I have always been inclined towards keeping a diary just to remember the important moments even when I’m older. Whenever my dad tells me stories of his childhood or experiences that happened to him just before I was born, I always end up visualizing my own father as a near-stranger because he has had an incredible life. I wonder if he realizes it, though … because I really STRONGLY believe that everyone has an incredible story to tell, and they don’t realize it simply because they’re too busy living it. Personal thoughts aside, this book made me think about so many different things – of race and of modern impacts on traditional culture, of wanting to belong and of learning to live with yourself.
There’s so much I want to say, and yet I can’t find the words. I have never been in a situation like what Obama describes (growing up in a still-white-dominant world) because I was never born in that era and I’ve never really been in a situation where there are so many cultural and historical clashes between two people who must somehow live together in peace. I couldn’t relate till halfway through the book when one of Obama’s colleagues described how African-Americans grow up learning a history where white men always dominated – which set them wondering if they even belong in America, a country which they feel perplexed to call their own; and yet they can’t seem to connect to Africa either, a continent they’ve never set foot in. As much as I can sympathize and try to imagine what that must be like, I also know that the African-American experience is a unique one–just as my own culture and the Indian struggle between wanting to modernize but still somehow holding on to our roots. Certain things, everyone can relate to–like having a big family, and poverty–but there are certain things that are unique, and perhaps these are the only thing we can truly call “our own”.
With my short trip to Kenya still fresh in my mind, the latter half of the book which deals with Obama’s visit to his estranged family in Kenya was something I could picture a lot more clearly in my head. He’s a wonderful author, because everything is so well-written, and so proper. This book is both a personal indulgence into himself, and yet an impersonal one. It doesn’t seek to teach you anything, and it doesn’t seek to point fingers–it simply seeks to tell. I love books like that, and I think what makes this an even better read is how unapologetically truthful he has been in his memoir.
Should I read Audacity of Hope next? Would the next book be more of a PR thing than an honest memoir like this one was? I don’t know, but I’m looking forward to see how his views might have changed now. “
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Until we rendezvous again,