4 out of 4 stars
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Dark Hearts Village by the Ocean is a memoir written by Shanaga Brown. The book throws light on the author’s childhood and her struggles growing up in a modest Jamaican village. The book mainly talks about Shanaga’s sister June who was afflicted by autism. The author has poured her heart out in this book.
Shanaga was born in a small Jamaican village. She had many siblings, but June was her most loved sister. Being autistic, June had to suffer unimaginable pain and misery as a child and as an adult. June was always abused physically and mentally because of her condition. Her family never understood her and did not try hard enough to protect her. The author explains the neglect and sufferings that mentally and physically challenged people face, especially in underdeveloped nations. Being much younger than June, Shanaga could not help her sister as much as she wanted to and deeply regrets it. Her dream to make her unfortunate sister’s life comfortable was never realized. This book is a story of the author’s journey from a small village in Jamaica to the United States of America. It tells about all the people in her life that transformed her into the person she is today.
What I loved most about the book is the author’s love for her village and her desire to give back to her people. The unconditional love she had for her underprivileged sister is well portrayed in this book. The book focuses on empathy and how important it is for parents to teach empathy to their children. It also tells us to help the underprivileged and give back to society. The author has added pictures of her family and the village that will help the reader add a face to the characters in the book. The title of the book is appropriately chosen. It speaks about how love had left the village and people were just trying to survive even if it involved hurting other innocent people. Shanaga explains how the darkness of the village sometimes rubbed onto her and made her do and say bad things to few troublesome people.
The only aspect that I disliked about the book is the excessive use of cursing due to which it will not be appropriate to a wider audience.
This book is well-written and professionally edited. I recommend this book only to adults because of excessive profanity. The author has done a commendable job conveying the plight of physically and mentally challenged people in underdeveloped countries. I rate the book 4 out of 4 stars for emphasizing being empathetic towards people with special needs.
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