Book Review: Conjure Women by Afia Atakora

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Want to know whether Conjure Women by Afia Atakora is worth your time? Here’s my full review to help you decide!

Conjure Women Review

Conjure Women by Afia Atakora is a book that has incredibly beautiful writing. It’s writing where you can’t stop reading as you are entranced by it.

I say that the writing is undeniably beautiful because if you asked me to give a summary of the plot, I would’ve answered I have no idea.

Because I truly don’t. The plot of Conjure Women has a lot going on which I am sad to say is one of its flaws.

There were too many subplots going on competing for your attention that it slowly became confusing keeping track of what is going on.

If the writing didn’t pique my interest this book would have been DNF’ed.

The timeline jumps between freedomtime and slaverytime along with the change in POV between Rue and her mother Miss May Belle most definitely didn’t help in easing my confusion.

But again, the author’s writing was so captivating for me that even though I was confused a majority of the time, I wanted to know and read more of this world she is showing me.

A world that I being a South East Asian woman would never experience nor understand.

What I liked about Conjure Woman by Afia Atakora was how the author showed how even when the slaves went through immense hardship they found not only a community within themselves but also a slice of happiness.

Another aspect I liked was how the author made Rue proud of her dark coloring. Rue, our main character BTW, never went through the experience of wanting light-colored skin.

She has always loved her dark complexion as it is the same coloring as her mother Miss May Belle.

And to me reading a character who embraces her looks from the get-go is a refreshing read.

The author, Afia Atakora, also writes about the complexities of the bond that exists between a slave and their master especially if they have been friends since childhood.

Showing us that sometimes the lines are blurry and not everything is black and white and instead shades of grey.

For example, in the book, if Varina (daughter to the Master of the plantation) was truly racist and sees black people as beneath her why would she believe Rue with all her being to protect her?

And vice versa, if Rue understands that she is a slave to Varina, why can’t she let Varina go?

Speaking of this point, I wished the author did cut some of the subplots out to give us a straightforward (is that the correct word though?) plot.

But on the other hand, I kind of understand why the author would choose the route she chose because life is incredibly messy and not everything will end with a concise closure.

Conjure Woman by Afia Atakora truly made me think in-depth about just how much was taken from African Americans.

They lost everything; culture, language, family, friends, and health. They literally had to start everything from scratch and from what they themselves could remember from their ancestors.

The ending of Conjure Woman made me sad. No spoilers. But it’s sad to think that nobody would know your full history.

Overall, I recommend for people to read Conjure Women by Afia Atakora.

Conjure Women by Afia Atakora

Conjure Women Synopsis

Author: Afia Atakora

Published: 7 April 2020

Publisher: Random House

Rating: 3/5

A mother and daughter with a shared talent for healing—and for the conjuring of curses—are at the heart of this dazzling first novel

Conjure Women is a sweeping story that brings the world of the South before and after the Civil War vividly to life. Spanning eras and generations, it tells of the lives of three unforgettable women: Miss May Belle, a wise healing woman; her precocious and observant daughter Rue, who is reluctant to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a midwife; and their master’s daughter Varina. The secrets and bonds among these women and their community come to a head at the beginning of a war and at the birth of an accursed child, who sets the townspeople alight with fear and a spreading superstition that threatens their newly won, tenuous freedom.

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