Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem


Today's post is on Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem by Paula Williams Madison. It is 288 pages long and is published by HarperCollins. The cover is a patchwork of pictures of the author and her family. The intended reader is someone who is interested in family history, looking for oneself, and interesting memoirs. There is talk of sex and rape, language, and violence in this book. The story is told mostly from the first person perspective of the the author with bits in third and other first person perspectives for added depth. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Thanks to her spiteful, jealous Jamaican mother, Nell Vera Lowe was cut off from her Chinese father, Samuel Lowe, when she was just a baby, after he announced he was taking a Chinese bride. By the time Nell was old enough to travel to her father's shop is St. Anne's Bay, he'd taken his family back to China, never learning what became of his eldest daughter. Bereft, Nell left Jamaica for New York to start a new life. But her Asian features set her apart from her Harlem neighbors and even her own children- a difference that contributed to her feelings of loneliness and loss, which she instilled in her only daughter, Paula.
Years later, with a successful corporate career behind her and the arrival of her only grandchild raising questions about family and legacy, Paula decided to search for Samuel's descendants in China. With the support of her brothers and the help of encouraging strangers, Paula eventually pieced together the full story of her grandfather's life, following his story from China to Jamaica and back, and connected with three hundred surprised relatives who were overjoyed to meet her.

Review- This is a very drawing account of one woman's search for her mother and herself. With great care and determination Madison finds out what happened to her grandfather and why it affected her mother so. Madison gives only her mother's and grandfather's story but her own. It is a very moving account a family that should have been apart. Madison ties everything back together in the end. As this is a first book I normally feel that I have to give the author some room but Madison did everything right. She hit the right emotional tones, she feels honest and forthright. I hope to see her name on more books, not just memoirs but whatever other stories she has floating around in her head. I recommend this book.

I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I was given a copy of this book by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.