The novel I Am a Dahomey Warrior relates the tale of a young Fon girl who lived in Benin, West Africa, decades ago. Our protagonist has heard tales of the bravery, fearlessness, and sheer might of the all-female Elephant Hunters since she was a little child.
Back when it was still known as Dahomey, it also had a rich cultural past. Our heroine was determined to join the Elephant Hunters in order to battle such injustices and crimes and defend the people of her region after a horrible tragedy that resulted in the loss of both her mother and her sister.
The rest of the story follows her effort in reaching her goal and what happens even after she’s accomplished her lifelong dream. One of the few African adventure stories I’ve read, “I am a Dahomey Warrior,” really blew me away.
To claim that the writing was flawless would be greatly understating the case. It is one of those tales that begs to be read because it exudes the same resolve as its women. I was astounded at how effortlessly the author was able to transport me to the world of our protagonist and at how expertly the vision was created.
As a result, I frequently found myself in our heroine’s shoes. The unique aspect of this book is how, despite being such fierce warriors, the Elephant Hunters were treated worse than the men simply because they were female, including being forced to marry the king, being molested without being able to report it, and being denied the same rights as men.
Reading this account now, especially in light of how appallingly women are treated in Afghanistan, hits home for me on a whole new level and just proves how relevant the tale of the Dahomey women is to the present day. This story is tragic, it’s motivating, it’s STRONG – and it manages to bring out the sleeping Dahomey warrior inside each one of us.
About The Book
As an African American, have you hungered for information about your Ancestral home? Or hungered for stories with historical significance that show your ancestors as anything but slaves? In your youth or even now as a parent, have you searched for fiction that displays women and girls of African heritage as Strong, Powerful, Complex, Beautiful beings, but found only one-dimensional caricatures?
“I AM A DAHOMEY WARRIOR” follows the gripping journey of a young girl coming of age prior to the colonization of Africa. This take on the narrative poem and short story form follows our heroine from the early days of her childhood through the heart-stopping events that mold her into the warrior she is today.
Although fictional, this story is based on a real tribe of female African Warriors. The Dahomey Warriors, through their incredible power and prowess, were often compared to the mythical Greek Amazons by European scouts. These comparisons continue to this day. Come, step into the mind of a warrior and be led through her adventures by the use of poetry as a means of powerful storytelling.
I am a Dahomey Warrior!
I was already familiar with author Dionne Hunter's spoken word poetry, and recognized her style in this story of a young woman claiming her power to triumph over grief and despair and serve her tribe. Hunter's unique style makes this important story accessible to even a casual reader who does not want to make a commitment to hundreds of pages. She uses imagery and action in this historical fiction tale of a girl who loses her family in a brutal attack, and feels shame that she could not save them. But a fierce Dahomey Warrior inspires her when she explains that she survived and will grow into a strong woman and make her family proud. I AM A DAHOMEY WARRIOR is not marketed as a children's book, but Hunter sums it up at the end when she says that her heroine has done all she can so that young girls "understand the strength that lies within their voice." Isn't that what we all hope for the girls and young women we love?
- CHARACTERS 0
- STORY 0
- WRITING 0
- WORTH A READ 0