This was storm book #2, and what an engrossing, lovely read it was. Author, academic, and musician Sonja Boon explores her complicated family roots (she often describes herself as “Dutch-Canadian” for simplicity’s sake, but the reality is much more complex) in a book that at the same time a personal memoir, a family history, and an exploration of archival material relating to slavery and colonialism in Suriname, where many of Boon’s ancestors came from.
The resulting book is thoughtful and absorbing. It’s also a visually beautiful hardcover (this is one I’m glad I didn’t read as an e-book; it was given to me as a Christmas gift and the physical book is a true pleasure). There are photographs interspersed throughout the narrative, though never as many as I wanted (sometimes photographs are described in the text, as the author looks through archival or family materials, but not all of these are reproduced in the book). I also wished, very much, for a family tree to be included, as I wanted to map the relationships of the various grandparents and great-grandparents and great-great grandparents she writes about. Regardless of the things I’d like to have seen more of, I loved reading this book, and thought it was such an insightful take on the idea of “family history.”