The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander

Our story takes place over 150 years ago in West Africa. The protagonist, Kofi, lives in a divided society after a great war split the Asante kingdom in half. Kofi’s uncle is the ruler of Upper Kwanta, and to his dismay, his arrogant cousin will soon reign over the land. The cousins always were in competition with each other, and Kofi’s cousin was always better than him. Whether it be running, wrestling, or even school. There was however, one thing that Kofi knew he was better at, swimming. Kofi always looked forward to swimming in the cool, refreshing waters of the Offin river. Kofi’s fun always came to an end as the night approached, and everyone hurried towards their homes. The elders warned the children of the monsters that swam after dark, but Kofi was never too concerned with his this. He would have to learn of the horrors the hard way.

I enjoyed how the author was able to translate the story into short, meaningful, poem-like texts. Additionally, I also liked Kofi’s teacher, Mr.Goodluck Phillip. His name was definitely amusing and is probably what caused all of school children to take his English lessons with a grain of salt. Even the elders found his teachings silly! Finally, I also found the relationship between Kofi and his cousin interesting. Their competitive spirit led them to disliking each other but also led to pointless arguments that got both of them in trouble. At the end, they both were able to put aside their differences. I enjoyed the arc of their relationship.

The most memorable thing about the book was probably Kofi’s love for swimming. The book tells me that Kofi feels free from reality when he swims. His stress seems to melt away whenever he is in the water. His love for swimming is something that’s unforgettable.

Reviewed by Rhea M. at Twin Hickory Library

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