Tuesday, 6 July 2010
Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay
DATE READ: July 2010
NOTES: I don’t often choose to read autobiographies but was lured to this by some positive reviews and after hearing Jackie Kay talk about her book on the radio. She was adopted as a baby and Red Dust Road is her story of her search for her birth parents.
In no way is this a “misery memoir” – her story is told with openness, honesty and humour. Like many adopted children she had built up pictures of what her birth parents would be like and (let’s face it) neither of them really came up to her expectations. But she shows no bitterness or resentment and tries hard to understand them.
There is a dramatic tension when she recounts her trips to Nigeria to locate her father – but when he turns out to be a “born again” Christian zealot she continues to treat him with courtesy and respect. Let us hope that her dream of being welcomed into her village with drums beating will one day come true!
The real hero and heroine of this memoir are John and Helen Kay, Jackie’s adoptive parents. They sound like wonderful people – strong, principled, funny, loving and generous.
Red Dust Road is a beautifully written book that quickly draws the reader in. Warm and life-affirming.