Alaine Beauparlant is a 17 year-old Haitian American from Miami. A series of events causes Alaine to act out during a school presentation, which led to her suspension from school and being sent to Haiti. While in Haiti she learns more about her family’s history and the actions and inactions of her ancestors and immediate family that’s impacting her life now.
The book was a slow start but when it did pick up it got good. I really love the historical fiction aspects of the book. Generally I would love to see more books by Caribbean authors in this literary genre. I got excited when I recognized the names of the unsung women of the Haitian revolution from a former podcast guest who dedicated her “Liberator” bags to some of these women.
The exploration of relationships is very critical to the story. Some relationships were presented in the “traditional Caribbean sense” while others were not the stereotypical portrayals. In our discussion of the book, my friends and I spent a lot of time discussing these relationships. We found these relationships interesting because we know they exist but don’t often see them portrayed. Our discussions drew parallels between the characters in the book and people we know that have some similar family dynamics.
Haiti’s geography, landscape is an important character in the book. My friends were enthralled by the description of Haiti throughout the book and are hoping to visit soon.
As for the Audiobook, the Haitian accent sounded more French than Kreyol. It reminded me of upper class Jamaicans with a “stush” patois accent versus a thicker accent that I’m more familiar with. Which, I guess would make sense since the characters are affluent Haitians. Try Audible Plus to listen to Dear Haiti, Love Alaine.
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine is categorized as a Young Adult book. There were places we hoped the book would have gone deeper but the subject matter probably isn’t suitable for the genre/audience. Overall it was an enjoyable read or in my case listen.