I have to say that as I am reading “Krik? Krak!”, it reminds me much of my mother. My mom grew up in El Salvador. She was born in 1961 and went to the University of San Salvador. Now, I understand what is going on in your mind right now. What does this have to do with the book? As I began reading the novel and imagined the two speakers, it actually really touched me and hurt me. The man leaving his home is distraught and does not want to leave. The girl back at home sees nothing but terror and her home being destroyed by the pigs. My mother lived this. Her story strikes me as I read the opening chapter. In all the novels read thus far in this course, no book has grabbed me and jolted me from the opening as this book as. I read and I feel the pain that both characters feel because I have seen that pain. My mother had to leave her country, her home when the guerillas were over throwing the government. She saw the terrors and atrocities being done to her people. My grandfather took it upon himself to send my mom away to the United States. He gave her money, bought her a plane ticket towards New York and said never come back to El Salvador, that it was too dangerous. She had to leave her home when she did not want to, as the man must leave Haiti despite what he really wants. In many ways, both characters are images of my mother and her story. It does a tremendous job in capturing the pains of losing and leaving a home.
As I continued reading into 1937, the story continued to touch me with its vividness and clear image of the life in Haiti during this uprising. As a reader, it is hard even impossible to feel something for these characters and the pain they are going through. It also makes it very hard for a reader to deny feeling some sort of emotion from this story when they know someone who has experienced a similar trauma or ordeal. As the girl loses her mother to the prisons and the pigs arresting her, my mother had lost her two brothers to the guerillas. My Uncle Herman and Nelson were generals in the army for El Salvador. Both had attended West Point Academy in the U.S. They were top notch and decorated soldiers. When the civil war broke lose in El Salvador, my uncles were targeted, kidnapped, and never seen again. It can easily be assumed that both were killed under imprisonment. It saddens me to read this book because I know those feelings. There have been times when I walk into my parents’ room and I see that my mother had been crying because of the trauma she had went through. For me, it is a very touchy subject because since it is my mother’s history, it is also mine. It is part of what makes me, me.
When looking at the writing style of “Krik? Krak!”, the story is voiced through first person narration but what makes it different from the other novels read so far is that the voice is real and personal. As readers dive into the book, it is not impossible to envision that person right there with us at our common room table talking to us about their story. It is not impossible to share in the pain they have gone through. Edwidge Danticat has done a great job in capturing the voice of a people that have been placed through such a pain that is sometimes inexplicable. Sometimes it sparks so much hatred and pain that it is hard for some to ever really explain it to others without crying or choking up. When looking at the structure of the book, each story stands alone but makes the most of the overall tone and catharsis it gets out of audiences. In many ways, I can easily say that this has been my favorite book thus far.