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Edwidge Danticat, author of Breath, Eyes, Memory and the Dew Breaker A wonderful first novel about the very complex ties that bind mothers and daughters in pain, the inevitable sacrifices that redefine love, passion, and commitment. asha bandele proves here that she can do it all: poetry, memoir, fiction. And much like Asha's other work, Daughter will move and transform you.
Essence This lyrical writer gives us another penetrating look at the endurance of love under harsh circumstances.
The Washington Post A provocative meditation...Bandele's imagery is spare and effective...the kind of storytelling that resurrects lost family history.
1. In Daughter, Aya Rivers, a vibrant but mischievous teenager, tries to be obedient but has a hard time, particularly "when she [comes] across a rule that [doesn't] fit into her life" (page 4). Discuss the notion of rules as a theme that resonates throughout the novel. How do rules factor into the lives of Miriam and Aya? In what ways does following the rules backfire?
2. As a child, Miriam "was loved, yes, but hers was a childhood defined by the church, and by her mother's restrictions and protection" (page 62). Examine the parallels between Miriam's and Aya's childhoods and upbringings.
3. How is Miriam, as a parent, the product of her mother and father's attempts to do things "just so?" Were Maud and Fred successful as Miriam's parents? Was Miriam successful as a parent to Aya?
4. Up until Miriam meets Bird, she is a silent and respectful girl who never really asserts herself or her point of view. She tells Bird that "if you say how you feel it's either considered complaining, not being grateful for your blessings, or else not being in control of your emotions" (page 101). Discuss the themes of silence and voice. How does Miriam eventually use the voice that has been locked within her for so long?
5. Aya, seeking to define her identity, is naturally curious about her absent father. Miriam, attempting to shield her daughter from the bitter truth, tells Aya that her father died in Vietnam. Do you think Miriam should have told Aya the truth about Bird? How might have Aya's understanding of past events potentially affected her future?
6. Devastated by the loss of her first and only love, Bird, and her only child, Aya, Miriam seeks to avenge her daughter's death by opening fire in a police precinct. Are you surprised by this sudden turn of events? Is Miriam justified?
7. Growing up a lonely child, Miriam forges a strong and binding relationship with God. How does prayer and faith factor into Miriam's life? Ultimately, does she break her pact with God?
8. An underlying theme of the novel is the impact of police brutality on families and the community at large. How do you reconcile the fact that both father and daughter are victims of haphazard policing? Considering the high levels of police antagonism, is it a startling coincidence or a probable occurrence?
9. The novel Daughter sharply focuses on familial relationships, in particular, the raising of daughters. The narrator states: "Aya would be raised a righteous woman, a clean and pure and proper woman. Miriam would not allow her girl to follow the example of her life" (page 218). Do you think Miriam and her parents would have been as strict and restricting if they were raising boys instead of girls?
10. By the end of the novel, Miriam encourages the women at the Waterkill facility to "say their stories, the things they knew, the puzzles they'd fit together despite the missing pieces" (page 259). Discuss the importance of passing on stories and sharing histories. How does Miriam eventually fit her puzzle together in spite of the missing pieces?
Posted August 6, 2013
Posted March 26, 2006
When I first decided on reading this book I wasn¿t very interested. I only picked it in order to get my book report out of the way. The cover looked pretty decent so I decided on this book. To my surprise it was different than what I expected. As I read it and after I was done reading it I had different feelings on the book. It gave me a different out look of a mother-daughter relationship. The book wasn¿t what I expected it to be but more. My feelings towards the book have changed completely because at first I didn¿t have any feelings towards it but now I have great respect for the book and the author herself. The main characters are as followed: · Aya Rivers-a vibrant nineteen-year-old black girl attending college in Brooklyn who is shot by a white police officer in a case of mistaken identity. · Mariam- Aya¿s mother. A rigid and guarded woman. Daughter is an emotionally connecting story about a mother and a daughter (Mariam and Aya) who struggle on a journey of accepting each other just the way they are The book also addresses other issues such as, racism, police brutality, war, social isolation, poverty, parenting and young love. Daughters is a work of Fiction written by Asha Bandele who is also the author of the best selling novel The Prisoner¿s Wife. I enjoyed this book because it touched upon many issues that African-Americans still face. It also showed a lot of love that people share upon themselves. For example in the story Aya was shot by a police officer all because she fit the description of someone else. A family member of mine faced a similar situation. In the story Mariam gets caught in a few recollections, most of them having to do with Aya¿s father and Mariam¿s first love, Bird. I liked this book and I would surely recommend it. The book rating ranges from ages 13 and up. I give it his rating because I don¿t believe that children under the age of 13 would be able to deal with or understand some of the things addressed in the story, also for slight language and vocabulary. If I had to rate this book from one through five, five being the best I would probably give it a three. I say this because although the book was interesting at times I think it could have hooked me a little better. There were parts of the story that had me on the end on my seat though, I¿m not going to say what though because that¿s for me to know and for you to find out! If you do decide to read this book, I hope you¿ll enjoy as much or more than I didWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 31, 2006
Bandele paints a gorgeous story using both memoir, poetry, and a stream of consciousness. She nails the sensation of love, betrayal, and redemption in this page turner. A MUST READ! More novels please Asha!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 18, 2005
Asha Bandele is an awesome writer, this book is thought provoking, emotional. The story line tugs at your heart. I am from NYC, and I read it on the train to and from work. At some moments I was in tears at other moments I was laughing. The characters are very relatable. THIS IS A MUST READ.... EVERYONE ON MY CHRISTMAS LIST IS GETTING A COPY!!!!!!!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 27, 2005
Posted July 5, 2005
This book is one of the few that made me think about it for hours after I was done reading it, then go out and buy copies for women I know who need to learn to love their daughters. The old adage 'raise the daughter's, love the sons' rang in my ears incessantly while I read this book. It reminded me of my own childhood search for love outside of my home-life because of the distance my mother put between us for whatever reason. It also proved to be a topic that crossed racial boundaries as my Grecian co-worker has had the same type of relationship with her mother and this book helped her understand and cope with the fact that we rarely know who our parents are before us and that this person they were directly affects who they are with us. The cycle of Brooklyn, NY police racism and brutality as a backdrop to this endearing story not only shows that things have not changed in the twenty years between the father¿s death and the daughter¿s but also that this unfeeling, callous attitude toward black life in this country is still prevalent today.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 24, 2005
I had heard great reviews about this book. While I have not read The Prisoner's Wife, I found Daughter to be somewhat disappointing. At times I felt like the author was quite repetitious in her writing. There were key moments that enlightened the reader to what the book should have been about, and then the writer would take a completely different path with the plot. I think she could have taken Miriam in a different direction that the path she led her down. Needless, it was not one of my favorite books.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 3, 2005
Just finished reading the book...asha has done an excellent job of linking the fragile and sacred relationship of mother and daughter to the need that all people of African descent have to live freely, without fear, with hope and with pride. Just as the passing on of a mother's lessons learned to her daughter can free generations to come, 'Daughter' also leaves the reader to wonder -- what will it take to free the oppressed and bullied people in America who are only seen as spiritless and plastic?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 29, 2004
Posted July 29, 2004
Now don't get me wrong, I love Asha Bandele's colorful writing skills, and I've had the pleasure of meeting this fine author and poet a few times. She captivated me with her first book, Prisoner's Wife. However, Daugther took me to a different place, and left me wanting more creatively from Asha. This just seemed to be a little too bland for my taste.I know that everything can't be the same all the time, but I expected the same fullness this time around. Basically, I missed the poetry.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 27, 2004
I couldn't put this book down! It was such a powerful yet heartbreaking story. I was crying so hard at the end that I could barely finish it. The characters will capture your heart and the story will make you angry at the injustice in our society. Asha Bandele is now one of my favorite authors.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 11, 2003
Asha Bandele, the Author, is a true wordsmith and is crafty with the scene structure. The only downfall with this book is the plot. It's dragging and slow to get to the point. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish reading the book because of boredom.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 28, 2011
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