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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Book Review: The Book of Colors by Raymond Barfield

About the book:

Title: The Book Of Colors
Published by: Unbridled Books
Published on: 2015
Pages: 211
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Blurb: How can a 19-year-old, mixed-race girl who grew up in a crack house and is now pregnant be so innocent? Yslea is full of contradictions, though, seeming both young and old, innocent and wise. Her spirit is surprising, given all the pain she has endured, and that's the counterpoint this story offers—while she sees pain and suffering all around her, Yslea overcomes in her own quiet way. What Yslea struggles with is expressing her thoughts. And she wonders if she will have something of substance to say to her baby. It's the baby growing inside her that begins to wake her up, that causes her to start thinking about things in a different way. Yslea drifts into the lives of four people who occupy three dilapidated row houses along the train tracks outside of Memphis: "The way their three little row houses sort of leaned in toward each other and the way the paint peeled and some of the windows were covered with cardboard, the row might as easily have been empty."

About the author

Dr. Raymond Barfield is a pediatric oncologist at Duke University School of Medicine and an associate professor of philosophy at Duke Divinity School. He also works with the Institute on Care at the End of Life at Duke Divinity School—the Institute’s work crosses disciplines and focuses on the intersection of spirituality and medicine. Ray has a book out from Cambridge University Press, The Ancient Quarrel between Poetry and Philosophy, and he’s working on a nonfiction trade book that explores the intersection of spirituality, philosophy and science. He also has a book of poetry that was just published in October.
It’s his work with low-income African American children at Duke University Hospital and his previous experience in the ERs of Atlanta and Memphis inner-city hospitals that make him so familiar with the protagonist in The Book of Colors. Ray says he has met Yslea many times and her voice is embedded in his head
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My Review:

One unquestionable truth about the book is- it is the kind of book you pore your eyes over, dig the deeper meanings of and let the story and characters grow on you.

Faintly reminiscent of The Color Purple, partly because of the narration style and partly because of the characters and situation which form the basis of our reading. Even so, this book is nothing like what you'd have read ever before.

As is obvious, it is not a fast paced read, and letting the characters' lives hijack your own is the most deeply fulfilling experience. Yslea's perspective on live and everything for that matter is so shattering and overwhelming that you'd pause everytime she says something, reflect upon it and then let her grow on you. Not just Yslea, you'll let all the characters grow on you, get under your skin and make you feel the irony, cruel game of fate and pain- all at once. Through her guilelessness and innocence, Yslea shines throughout.
The Book of colors has a beautiful metaphorical meaning too!

The author has done a great job with the plot- it is coherent and structured, with the characters that are all well-etched and with the story- that never fails to move the reader.

Links to the book:

Quotes from the book:

It's not having money that makes a lot of things hard- The book of colors, Raymond Barfield
Posted by So many books, So little time. on Friday, August 28, 2015

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Source of the review copy: Author

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