The Deep by Rivers Solomon

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Pages: 166

Goodreads: The Deep

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, SciFi, Novella, Adult, LGBTQ, Mythology

Publication date: November 5th, 2019

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Yetu holds the memories for her people – water dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners – who live idyllic lives in the sea. Their past too traumatic for all but their historian to remember save but once a year.

Yetu remembers for everyone. The memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so she flees to the surface to escape the memories and obligations that go along with being her peoples’ historian.

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History was everything. Yetu knew that. But it wasn’t kind.

Ch. 6, pg. 96

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I truly need to thank my boyfriend for this read. If he hadn’t picked the book up for himself, there’s a chance that I never would have read it. And that would have been a travesty.

As a huge Clipping. fan, he just had to pick up the book that was inspired by one of their songs. The Deep tells a tale that I didn’t know I needed to read until I’d already read it. I’m so glad that I did – so glad that he brought this story into my life – as it truly is a near perfect story.

This story is gripping and impactful. It tells a story using a truly devastating genocide that happened in the world to create a beautiful tale. Not only does it touch on true historical events, this story brings light to a serious issue that still exists today – rampant racism. While this issue is not the main focus of the story, it carries weight within the creation of the wajinru.

Yetu’s story has impact. It has weight. It might be fictional, but the meaning in these words and the lessons you can learn from them matter.

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*Spoilers ahead*

Yetu is a character that’s stronger than she realizes. She’s given up most of her life to being her peoples’ historian, even though it’s a role she never wanted for herself. While the historians that came before her might have been physically and emotionally stronger and more put together than Yetu was before being thrust into the role, she just proves time and time again that her heart, morals, and drive to live are stronger than any historian that came before her.

Yes, she ran away from her responsibilities and almost ended the world. Yes, she got scared when she considered how continuing to be the historian might very well kill her. But she tried. And isn’t that all we can really ask of people?

She tried to be the historian that her people needed, to carry on the role the way they were used to it being played. But being that kind of historian just didn’t work for Yetu. She thought that maybe – just maybe – her people would be able to survive the brutal histories of their peoples without her help. Yes it was almost too late to help them out when she finally arrived back home, but in the end Yetu was able to muster up the courage to do what needed to be done. Even if it meant sacrificing herself for the cause.

Thankfully it didn’t come to that. The wajinru were able to get through the onslaught of history with the help of their historian and carry the burden together. Instead of being a people who lived to forget, they became a people that remembered to live.

I’m also glad that, on top of saving her people and her own life, Yetu was able to find her own happiness with Oori. Oori might not be a wajinru, but with Yetu’s help she was able to remember how to breathe through water and to survive in the deep. There was nothing left for the woman above the water, so she was able to join Yetu and become one with their people below the surface.

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