“There was more than one way to be lost. More than one way to be saved. While my mother had saved me from the waves and gave me breath, my father had tried to save me only by suffocation. With ever increasing strictures, with incense smoke, with fire. Both had wanted better for me, but only one of them would protect me in the end.”
― Safiya Sinclair, How to Say Babylon

Safiya Sinclair is a talented and celebrated young poet, so it is no surprise that her powerful and moving memoir, How to Say Babylon, is beautifully written. Raised in a strict Rastafarian household with a domineering father and few chances for independence, Safiya was ultimately able to break free to develop her own voice and find her power. The story makes for a compelling, cathartic, and intensely personal memoir. I was impressed with Safiya’s ability to write about her childhood with such grace, objectivity, wisdom, and forgiveness.

How to Say Babylon is an interesting story about a gifted young woman living through an experience of life that most of us can’t fathom. When I hear the word “Rasta,” I immediately start humming Bob Marley tunes. But Safiya Sinclair’s story – the story of her life – showed me just how limited my understanding is. Which, of course, is the power of memoir!

I hope you’ll join us for this spring’s Read With Us selection. It’s a good book worth reading. Well-written and fascinating, I’m sure it will make for a great discussion!

For more information about this season’s selection, you can check out our Read With Us reference page for background info and other “goodies” about the book, including information about Jamaica, Rastafarianism, and even a playlist. Be sure to check it out!

How To Say Bablyon is currently available on Amazon in paperback ($18.99), Kindle ($14.99) or Audible versions ($19.68 or 1 credit). You can also check your local bookstores for a copy — and, of course, the book should also be available at most libraries. (I listened to the audiobook version of the book, wonderfully narrated by the author.)

The book discussion day for How To Say Babylon is scheduled for Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Bonny, Carole, and I will each post discussion questions on our blogs that day, and then – later in the evening (7:00 pm Eastern time zone) – we’ll be hosting a live book discussion/meet-up on Zoom. If you’d like to join the Zoom (and we’d really love it if you do!) please let me know in the comments or send me an email (link in sidebar).

C’mon along!
Read With Us!