I chose to review “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” by Barack Obama because I thought it was fitting since Obama recently finished his stint as president of the United States. That being said, this autobiography was published in 1995 as he started his campaign for the senate in Illinois.
The story Obama recounts goes from the time his parents met, which he uses stories from his grandparents and mother to tell, up until he gets accepted into Harvard Law School.
Throughout the story, Obama recounts memories from his fatherless childhood in Africa, talks about his life in college and then his experience visiting his family in Kenya after his father passed away. This last half of the book, when he is in Kenya, is exceptionally powerful and is by far the best part of the book.
This is a raw and emotional book at times. Obama talks about his experiences with race and racial tensions during this time, and he offers astute observations about his experiences and that state of race relations.
While this book is powerful and does offer some amazing observations, it can be difficult to read. Occasionally, especially when Obama is talking about his young childhood, the story gets slow, and it can be difficult to keep paying attention.
However, I will say that the last part of the book is completely worth slogging through the rest to get to. Obama’s experiences with his family in Kenya make for wonderful stories that you almost can’t read fast enough.
I wasn’t such a completely huge fan of this memoir because of the time it took to get through the first two thirds of the book. I would recommend that you read this book because I think the observations about racial relations, which are mostly scattered throughout the book, make it worth reading.
Just don’t expect to be able to sit down and read it in an afternoon; after all, it is over 400 pages long.