Adventures of Columbus Daniel
Outskirts Press (2020)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (1/21)
“Adventures of Columbus Daniel” written by Columbus Daniel is a fictionalized memoir of sorts, though the author does note that some of the stories are written as fact. The book, fairly short with just over 50 pages, takes readers through different periods in Daniel’s life, beginning with his early memories as a three-year-old toddler and ending just before he hits his teenage years.
The book is divided into seven chapters, each focusing on an event or life lesson or a combination of the two. The first story, “Lessons of the Well” Columbus Daniel is only three years old and tragically falls into the well located in his community. He is pulled out to safety and though he doesn’t really know what happens, it sounds like he died and came back to life! As I’m reading I found it amazing that Columbus Daniel remembers a lot of details about such an early point of his life. I’m not sure I can remember much about being three! Then I remember it’s fiction. This makes the story a bit confusing because while I was reading I didn’t really think of it as a fiction book since it comes across as more of a true story.
There are a couple of chapters that really stuck with me. Chapter 2 – “Lesson of Prejudice” was really eye-opening to see how different it was for black people during that time period, only to come to the sad realization that not much has changed. I also liked Chapter 4 – “The Lessons of the Marbles” where Columbus learns the hard way about the value of life. My favorite chapter has to be Chapter 5 though – The Black Philosopher, about the value of friendship.
“Adventures of Columbus Daniel” has a heartwarming feel that will take certain readers on a trip down memory lane. It would be a great book for grandparents to share with their grandchildren and may even kick off more personal conversations about their own childhoods. It’s so important to keep our family histories alive and Daniels family now has a small piece of history to carry with them through generations to come.