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From Rum To Roots Paperback – August 6, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lloyd was born in Oakland in 1961, a first-generation American child to Jamaican parents. As a child his trips to Jamaica in the 60's and 70's shaped who he became. Growing up in Hayward California he was steeped in the island tradition of reggae, Jamaican cuisine, and patois. After studying engineering, Lloyd became a staff photographer for the San Jose Mercury News. He left newspapers to work for Yahoo Financial News Network and returned to journalism after 9-11. In 2001 Lloyd reported from Iraq for Newsweek Magazine, and went on to cover the war in Afghanistan. Lloyd returned to San Francisco in 2006. He lives with his wife, his two sons, and two Amazon parrots. He frequently takes long walks around San Francisco and Golden Gate Park, looking for great Instagram photographs.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 450 pages
  • Publisher: MarWay Publishing; 1 edition (August 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0989216101
  • ISBN-13: 978-0989216104
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,479,450 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The story begins in Jamaica circa 1937, with protagonist Linton McMann as a young man in his early twenties. We learn that he is the illegitimate son of Major Blaine, owner of a large sugarcane plantation and rum distillery. The Major insists that Linton keep his parentage a secret. This insistence was reinforced years earlier by a brutal childhood lashing which left Linton heavily scarred both physically and emotionally. Linton works the cane fields, and is eventually promoted to the distillery room. He falls in love with Sheila, a servant girl on the estate. Eventually they both leave and take up residence at a Rastafari commune. Linton finds communal life not entirely to his liking, and longs for something better. Sheila teaches him a secret family recipe to make "roots," a traditional medicinal tonic, which is also a tasty beverage. Following a horrible personal tragedy, Linton is left alone, and decides to immigrate to America.

In a parallel story, we meet the female protagonist, Daisy Wellstead, whose family owns an ice-making plant in Jamaica. She longs to follow her older sister Iris' lead, and move to America, where Iris is living the American dream, married to a successful civil engineer. Daisy's younger sister Callie has no interest in the ice business, and practices obeah (black magic). The mother insists that Daisy is the only one who can run and eventually take over the family business. At first, Daisy is quite successful at business, but circumstances conspire to make Daisy's life miserable. She is brutally attacked by someone she should have been able to trust. She keeps the attack secret, and eventually meets and marries a man named Miles. The marriage produces two daughters, but Miles proves to be a brute and a poor provider. Meanwhile, the ice business is failing.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Rum to Roots:

  We all want the best for our families but personal gain and status sometimes gets in the way. Rum to Roots shows the struggles immigrants not only of the West Indies, but the world encounter when one leaves home and searches for their path. 

How does one follow their path when the head of the household takes advantage of ones self? 

How does one move on when they look to trusted members of the family for help and receives pain and suffering instead?

Rum to Roots show that we all have it in our selves to make it as long we believe in our path. Life's pain and struggles fade with time.
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Loved the parallel story lines of the main characters, covering 5 decades contrasting deep rural with city life from the very poor to the wealthy. I bought the ebook (extraordinary price 99c) Saturday night August 24, and did not put it down till I finished reading it Sunday night August 25.
You covered a lot Lloyd.
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Format: Paperback
I received this book from Closed the Cover in exchange for a fair and honest review.

From Rum to Roots by Lloyd G. Francis is a dual narrative. One story is told from the perspective of Linton McMann, the illegitimate son of a plantation owner in Jamaica. The plantation owner, Major, keeps Linton's heritage a secret, but kind of watches out for him. Kind of because it only happens when it benefits Major, not when it would help Linton necessarily.

Linton gets fed up and decides to make a change, to go to America.

The second story is about Daisy, one of three daughters of an ice seller. Daisy yearns to go to America like her older sister, and eventually will get there.

In America, Linton and Daisy's stories converge. While they seem to find the way to live the American Dream, they also have some issues in the way of their happiness.

I enjoyed From Rum to Roots. I like how the stories met in America and that the characters learn about the true meaning of happiness.

I do have to say that the Jamaican slang used in the novel was, at time, very difficult for me. I read some of it out loud, and that helped. It was kind of like when I read Uncle Tom's Cabin and had a tough time with that diction. Reading some of the phrases out loud was beneficial.

What do you think the American Dream consists of?

Thanks for reading,

Rebecca @ Love at First Book
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Didn't really stir me. I liked the use of patois and enjoyed the descriptive bits, which did give me a feel for period Jamaica, but was disappointed in the plot development. The main thematic device and source of tension -- the illegitimacy of the protagonist -- was revealed in the first pages, and the resolution of his internal conflict -- the throw down with his half brother -- was played out without the drama and pathos one would expect... it just got said and no big deal. I didn't consider it a waste of time, and it had its moments, but overall this was not a truly engaging read for me.
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Yes, I am also confused as to why Amazon suddenly decided that this historical book about Jamaican Africans coming to the United States in the mid twentieth century isn't historical or about African Americans, but I hope they will correct that. It's the fascinating story of the American Dream told by a seldom heard viewpoint, that of African Americans who really do achieve the dream, but in the process lose their families, their roots, and themselves. And of course one so seldom hears about African Americans whose history is not slavery, of which, yes, there are some, and they have incredible stories to tell, too. Anyway, it's a rich and poignant novel, with so much local color in its several locales you'll get drunk on it.
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