I was in elementary school when Roots aired on television for the first time. Strangely it sort of made me a celebrity. I was the only black girl in my class and there were only a handful in the entire school. While my parents told me not to act any differently based on what I had seen on Roots and was learning about our history, other parents must not have given my classmates the same speech.
I recall that one of my teachers asked me if I was watching Roots. When I said, "Yes", she touched my shoulder and said it was bringing her to tears every night. In some way it seemed that my classmates and some of the faculty were "paying their respects" to me. One girl openly apologized saying, "I didn't know". It was very awkward. Each time I watched, I hoped no one else was. But the looks each day after an airing was one of knowing.
Later on, my mom bought me the book. It was HUGE. I don't think I would be exaggerating if I said it was three inches thick. I know I started reading it, but I don't think I ever finished.
We don't have cable so I didn't know Roots was airing again. I saw some of it over the Christmas holidays and then as Murphy's luck would have it, the exact same episodes were playing when I visited my parents this past weekend. I really wanted to see it from the beginning. Better yet, just read it again from the beginning.
The television version can get on your nerves after a while. Not everyone had the best "over-acting" skills. The gray hair on some of the actors looked like it was mixed with vacuum cleaner dust, and the makeup that they used to age the people - well I don't have an analogy for that. It was bad.
Here's the thing... I am reading the digital book AND listening the audio.
You know how ridiculously expensive audio books are right? I've only ever owned one audio book and it was A Song Flung Up to Heaven by Maya Angelou. I thought that was a good buy. I am sure that it is rare that an author with such a well known voice, narrates her own book. I can listen to it over and over.
Well what I found out recently is that if you own the Kindle book, you can get the audio book at a serious discount. The Kindle version of Roots was $8.98 (link below)
The audio book was $6.45 after purchasing the Kindle book. It you are not the owner of the Kindle book and purchased the audio version, it would have been $35.95!!!
Another great thing is, just as you can sample a Kindle book, you can also sample the audio book. Roots is a long book to have narrated by the voice of someone who you don't like the way they sound. Avery Brooks is the narrator of Roots. He had to grow on me but it didn't take long. If you put the voices of Maya Angelou and James Earl Jones in a jar and shake it up - you've got Avery Brooks.
Now for the cool part. If you have an iPhone or Android, you can install the free audible app and download the book to your phone. Your phone and Kindle will always sync to the furthest location, wherever you stopped reading or listening. I love this!
There are some tasks that I do, as the photographer's wife, where I can't multi-play with anything else. Listening to an audio book is perfect for that. Then when I get in bed at night, I read.