4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Unearthing Ida by Rose M Smith is categorized as drama and poetry. More than 50 poems without rhymes describe Ida's life as a member of an African-American family born in Alabama (in the 20th century) to a family of 16 children. The book has a high social content because it presents the life of an African American woman in a state known for its racist history and because it presents different perspectives and different speakers.
Ida is portrayed as a shy girl who spoke little. There are poems seen from the perspective of Brother Albie and Sister Flora. This is important to give an overview of how African American families viewed the events around them. If you ask 10 people to describe a particular event, you will have 10 different testimonials emphasizing the most different details.
What I loved more than anything was how the author managed to describe in a few pages the situation of African Americans in the past century. If written in prose, I estimate that Rose would need more than 200 pages to convey the same message. I don't know if it was intentional, but the author managed to communicate the message so that the content was easily absorbed. It is questionable whether this could be achieved otherwise.
There is hardly anything that I see as a flaw in this book. It is true that the book is not for everyone. Many people are not interested in the topic at hand. Others do not think that poetry should intermingle with social criticism. Anyway, it is undeniable that the author managed to accomplish what she set out to do. In the "Afterword," I found the only grammatical error in the book. The word "dementia" is written "dimentia," but there is no doubt that the book is professionally edited. Besides, I found some words such as "bastard" and "sh*t," but they don't appear very often. The author used these words in a dialogue that served to express the speaker's state of mind reliably.
All in all, Unearthing Ida deserves four out of four stars. The book is awe-inspiring, powerful, and thoughtful. The author managed to communicate her message with surprising effectiveness. The issues raised in the paragraph above cannot even be considered flaws. Thus, the book deserves to receive the maximum score. I recommend this book to all those who like poetry that discusses social topics. As much as the target audience is restricted, the book is unique and of excellent quality.
View: on Bookshelves