Across the Ocean by Hawa L Crickmore

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Across the Ocean by Hawa L Crickmore

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Peter Magee
Reviewed by Peter Magee
Summary: Athought-provoking story based on fact - and very readable.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 108 Date: June 2017
Publisher: AuthorHouseUK
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1524666972

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A young cage fighter, Martin Grandson, was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder which required a bone-marrow transplant, preferably from a sibling. Only recently he'd been a fit young man, in the prime of life, but now he was suffering from a rare type of bone cancer: without the transplant he would be paralysed for life and might be dead within the next twelve weeks if he didn't receive the transplant within the next fourteen days. Unfortunately Martin's parents had died in a car crash and there were no siblings or other close relatives. His girlfriend, Celia, was not a match.

By pure chance Martin met Leroy, a black American, in Nandos and Leroy offered to be tested as a donor although there was no indication that he would be a suitable match. It isn't unknown for a random member of the population to be a match, but it's rare and given Leroy's background it was most surprising when he turned out to be a suitable donor. Despite this Leroy had an uncanny feeling that there was a genetic relationship between himself and Martin and was determined to find out whether there was any evidence to support his reaction.

In a thrilling journey which takes the reader to Martin's roots and also to Leroy's, we discover the horrors of the slave trade and the devastating impact that it had on the lives of those who were affected by it. It's difficult for the current generation, educated by an overall view of the evil trade, to grasp the enormity of what happened to individuals on a day-to-day basis. Hawa L Crickmore, herself born in Ghana and now living in the United Kingdom, tells this tale, which is based on a true story, with sensitivity and an obvious empathy.

Although the inspiration for the story came from fact, the characters are all down to Crickmore and her imagination. What's particularly impressive is that this book is just 108 pages long, but there's been no skimping on character development and Leroy and Martin, particularly, stay with you long after you've turned the final page. Locations come off the page well: Crickmore takes few words to bring the colour of Africa into the book.

I confess I knew nothing about cage fighting before reading this book and probably wouldn't have gone out of my way to find out about it but I was surprised by how interesting I found the subject. If I've one minor quibble about the book it's that I found the ending rather predictable, but then it was what Crickmore had been working towards throughout the whole story. Don't let me put you off reading what's a very good book!

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Younger readers with an interest in cage fighting will enjoy Arabesque by Colin Mulhern and Blood Red Road by Moira Young. For another story with a Ghanaian base we can recommend Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi.

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Buy Across the Ocean by Hawa L Crickmore at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Across the Ocean by Hawa L Crickmore at


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