My Heart Will Cross This Ocean by Kadiatou Diallo
My Story, My Son, Amadou

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Descended from West African kings and healers, raised in the turbulence of Guinea in the 1960s, Kadiatou Diallo was married off at the age of thirteen and bore her first child when she was sixteen. Twenty-three years later, that child—a gentle, innocent young man named Amadou Diallo—was gunned down without cause on the streets of New York City. Now Kadi Diallo tells the astonishing, inspiring story of her life, her loss, and the defiant strength she has always found within.

It was Kadi Diallo’s voice that captivated the public when she came to America to defend her slain son, and it is that same voice—candid, wise, and generous—that fills the pages of this extraordinary book. Kadi reaches back to her earliest memories of growing up in Guinea, the daughter of a strict man who was thwarted by the relics of the French colonial system. Raised in a world in which age-old religious and cultural rituals were disappearing before the onslaught of modernity, Kadi saw her own childhood end abruptly at age thirteen when her father literally gave her away in marriage. Kadi prayed for death, but instead she found herself plunged into a baffling new life—the life of a second wife in a strange household in a distant country, and soon afterwards the teenage mother of a sweet-natured son.

Yet somehow, Kadi managed not only to survive but to flourish. Despite the rigid strictures of African-Islamic culture, she attended school and later started a successful business of her own. She eventually divorced and remarried and lived for eight years in Bangkok. Back in Guinea, she learned that her oldest child Amadou had been shot in New York City in a case of racial profiling.

Kadi read with outrage the American newspaper description of her son as “an unarmed West African street vendor.” “Nothing,” she writes, “could be more distant from the truth.” Now, with great pride and searing love, Kadi Diallo finally tells the truth about herself and her son.

My Heart Will Cross This Ocean is an extraordinary book—a girl’s story of desire and innocence, a wife’s story of defiance, a mother’s story of unbearable loss, and a woman’s story of unshakable strength and love.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Kadiatou Diallo

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Kadiatou Diallo, a frequent lecturer, is the founder of the Amadou Diallo Foundation to promote racial healing through educational programs. Born in Guinea in 1959, she now divides her time between New York City and Rockville, Maryland, where her three younger children are in school.Craig Wolff is an assistant professor at Columbia University School of Journalism and a former reporter for The New York Times, where he was part of the team that won a Pulitzer for coverage of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He has contributed to The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Rolling Stone, and the Daily News (New York).From the Hardcover edition.
Published April 25, 2009 by One World/Ballantine. 274 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for My Heart Will Cross This Ocean

Kirkus Reviews

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An uneven memoir by the mother of Amadou Diallo, the young man who, in 1999, was shot 41 times by New York City police officers outside his apartment building.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of My Heart Will Cross This Ocea...

Publishers Weekly

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Though journalist Wolff may have helped shape this memoir, its voice is all Diallo's. But the event that forced her into the media spotlight, the 1999 shooting of her son Amadou by four New Yor

Mar 31 2003 | Read Full Review of My Heart Will Cross This Ocea...

Publishers Weekly

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Though readers might have expected to hear more about Amadou's slaying and its aftermath, Diallo's determination and survivor's instinct are powerful inspirations in their own right.

| Read Full Review of My Heart Will Cross This Ocea...

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