Review/Musing – Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith

Today’s review is on a book that you’ve all by now heard about. In fact, one of my colleagues already reviewed the book for the blog, but here at Random Book Muses, we don’t follow a strict set of rules, and if we want to review/talk about something, we can – even if it has been reviewed already on the blog.
I won’t re-hash the plot too much as you all know the basic premise. What we basically have is a role reversal of kind. This is actually what initially drew me to the book (as well as Thalia’s recommendation). With this role reversal, we are presented with a moral conundrum – can we ever forget the past? Should we? Is an eye for an eye the best way to solve things? I personally don’t believe in the whole mantra of ‘an eye for an eye’, but I do love a good sociological experiment where traditional roles are switched.
Smith does present an interesting sociological scenario in his novel, and his characters and their reasoning behind their behavior is almost credible. However, it is the very fact that Smith’s characters have these such strong convictions that actually lead me to an almost disappointment or emptiness once I finished the book. Let me explain:

The following paragraph(s) WILL contain MAJOR SPOILERS!!!!

So, the group talks about “Black Rage” and claim that they must inflict as much pain on their white slaves in order to relieve some of that pent up rage, however, no one actually dies. Not even Alice, who was allowed to live even after Carver wanted to hurt Martin. We are given horrid descriptions of what slaves were made to endure at the hands of their white captors, and yet, whilst horrible, the punishments and treatment of the contemporary slaves seemed quite mild in comparison. I just think that if I had that “rage” inside me for my whole live and that it influenced all my decisions and motives, that I’d want to try and inflict that pain on others. I’m not into the torture stuff by any stretch of the imagination, but really, if you have your characters feeling such intense feelings, maybe you should have that reflect in their actions.
The happy ever after ending really didn’t sit right with me either. I mean really, a lawyer manages to coordinate the DA’ s office, who then coordinates with the FBI, who then calls two police officers on their phones to tell them to protect a witness? All within an hour? OK… The fact that everyone came out of it alive and well, without any repercussions, didn’t really resonate with me as we all know that many African slaves and indeed free African-Americans did not get this happy ending.
Although I had some issues with this book, all in all, it was a good read, and it was interesting to witness this sociological reversal. I would have no trouble recommending this to anyone, but would warn them to take it with a pinch of salt. It was a fun read, and I’m glad that I got a chance to experience this book. Thanks, Thalia!

Until next week (next week being the 28th, as I am going to back to the Motherland for a few weeks)
~ Pegasus.

One thought on “Review/Musing – Forty Acres by Dwayne Alexander Smith

  1. Besides the things you point out, which I totally agree with, I had a hard time reading his female characters. Both the wives and the slaves were in the story soley to serve the men. Not believing any of it.

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