Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Book Review - I am Going Where I Belong by Hans Lindor and Author Interview

Book Details
Title: I Am Going Where I Belong
Author: Hans Lindor
Publisher: Enaz Publications
Pages: Paperback; 150
Release Date: February 25, 2011
Source: Hans Lindor sent me a signed copy

About Hans Lindor 

Hans Lindor, novelist, screenwriter and playwright, has a singularly unique perspective on life and has earned many accolades for his fiction and poetry.

Hans Lindor has used his extraordinary life experiences to inspire young people, and has given motivational speeches and workshops to students in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Florida, advocating against guns, drugs and violence and giving students hope for rising above hardship and social struggles.

About the Book:

Hans Lindor’s I Am Going Where I Belong is a stirring coming-of-age tale set amidst the backdrop of Haitian history. The main character, Hans Leger hails from a privileged family in Haiti, knowing only the wealth and luxury. When his chauffeur makes a stop in downtown, Leger sees the harsh realities of life: poverty, hunger, despair, piles of waste mounting, infested with flies, and an overall sense of chaos. Unfortunately, many of these realities still exist in Haiti today. In the midst of a democratic presidential election, the victor will inherit a torn country which is battling a cholera epidemic—that has already killed thousands living in remote areas— and is still in the recovery and reconstruction stage after the devastating earthquake. Described in more vivid and grim terms in the book, Hans Lindor sums up Haiti’s existence in one sentence: “The existence of the Haitian people seems based on despair, vicissitudes, and destitution.”
I am Going Where I Belong revolves around the cold-blooded murder of Hans Leger’s father and gang rape of his mother. Removed from their wealthy status, Hans and his family move to Florida where they are essentially the same people that Hans Leger watched from the car in downtown Haiti—destined to poverty. Surrounded by violence, poverty, and racism, Hans manages to launch his writing career and lift his family out of poverty.

Written masterfully by Hans Lindor, one of the moving images of the book—at the beginning—describes Hans Leger looking on as a fifteen-year-old girl is forced into prostitution. Though this is a fictional tale, it is not far from reality. The Miami Herald reports that earthquake survivors are being smuggled into the Dominican Republic and used as prostitutes, drug peddlers, and beggars. It is astonishing to see innocent individuals at the mercy of their grim circumstances. The question arises, however, that if the Haitian Diaspora continues, who will be left to save the nation and restore peace and order?

Despite the tragedy-filled events of the book, I Am Going Where I Belong sends the message of hope, positive thinking, and overcoming adversity and hardship. The fact is that many Haitians have fled the country in fear for their lives. Democracy is practically invisible while the state of nation has been unchanged for decades. To this day, it remains vulnerable, treacherous, and violent.

Ultimately, I Am Going Where I Belong demonstrates that one can overcome social hardships. An award-winning novelist, screenwriter and playwright, Hans Lindor uses his extenuating life experiences to advocate against violence—both in the book as well as public speaking stints in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Florida. His message is clear and simple: never let racial barriers, poverty, or hopelessness rob you of your dreams and prevent you from achieving greatness.

Interview With Hans Lindor:
(questions from Pump Up Your Book)

Could you please tell us a little about your book?
I am Going Where I Belong is a story of unimaginable strength and grace. Hans Leger is growing up in a privileged lifestyle in Haiti. Residing with his diplomat father, and his beautiful mother, he and his younger brother live their early childhoods untouched by the poverty and degradation experienced by the majority of the Haitian population.

One afternoon, a detour by the family chauffeur has Hans and his younger brother seeing a part of Haiti that was hidden from him. He is intrigued by a girl he sees watching a ballet show on a television in a store window while braiding her hair. At her side is a young child that shows all the signs of hunger. Hans skips school the next day to go back and find this girl. What he finds opens his eyes to the unequal conditions in his country, and he promises the girl and her son that he will do his best to return the next day. But later that evening, a coup occurs and Hans’ father is gunned down before his family. Hans, his brother and mother are able to escape and allowed to be evacuated to the United States to live with his maternal grandmother in Miami. Thinking that they are escaping to a safe place, little do they know that this is just the beginning of the tragedies they will face.

Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book?
Yes, Marie, the girl I wrote about in the book.  At 15, she considered her life to be worthless. She never went to school. She didn’t know how to read or write. Her parents were dead. She was forced to sell her body as a way to save her life, or she would have faced death if she refused to comply. When hunger became unbearable, Marie begged, hoping to get some change to be able to feed her son, whom she had after she was raped. She was a young woman in despair, buried in the human meanness of society. There are several young girls like Marie around the world. I wanted the readers to hear their voices. It hurts me that these young girls are being unnoticed, despite their agony.

Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?
Again, I am speaking of Marie. Her story inspired me to write this book.  Also, those millions of children whose lives are neglected while dying daily of hunger. And finally, my mother’s killing.

Who is your biggest supporter?
My family and editor are my biggest supporters as of right now. I hope more supporters will grow eventually with this book.

Your biggest critic?
I am my own antagonist. I criticize myself when things do not go the way they should. However, I do not let them detour me from achieving my goals or going where I belong.

What cause are you most passionate about and why?
I deeply believe every child has the right to live. I believe women are the beauty of life and face of nature. They should never be abused whether it is in the mental or physical sense. I believe every human being should have the right to freedom. These are causes that I am very passionate about.

Do you have any rituals you follow when finishing a piece of work?
Yes, once I am done writing a book with an editor, I do not re-read it. I would ask someone else to examine it. The reason for this is simple; I do not want to be too attached to the book. This allows me to deal with other criticism.

What is the most important thing in your life right now?
Besides my family, I am trying to promote the awareness of child poverty and prostitution. 

What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on promoting “I am Going Where I Belong” and my children’s career.

Do you have any advice for writers or readers?
Who am I to give advice to others? But, I will only tell them to never give up. When life seems to be unpromising and callous, just stay focused and do not ever be discouraged. Instead, keep on smiling. This book will show them how to do just that. Things will get easier someday if you keep reaching for your destiny. You do not have to be rich to be happy, but you should be happy to be alive. And always be courteous and respectful to others.

Is there an author that inspired you to write?
It is sad to say, but no. My writing inspiration only comes from the life of regular people.   

What are some of your long term goals?
Making sure my family stays healthy and we are always helpful to others.

What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?
I would consider this kind of like a new genre which I call multiculturalism drama.

If you could go back and change one day, what would it be?
The day when my mother was killed, I wished that day never came. When I was younger I used to tell my mother, “I want to die before you.” She would ask, “Why?” and my answer was always, “My life would be meaningless without you.” Sure enough, after her loss, my life had changed ever since. Several times in the past, I had thought about committing suicide, but each time I thought about my family.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from life so far?
That life is what you make of it. Also life is precious beyond all means.

Is there anything you regret doing/not doing?
Yes. Let me answer “doing” first, I regret that I dated several women at once while I was in a serious relationship. I should have never done that. Every woman is a precious art created by God and should always be extolled. Now for “not doing”, I regret that I did not do enough to protect my mother.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Yes. Please find an organization of your choice to make a donation, whether it is to help fight children hunger, trafficking, abuse, or prostitution, and violent acts against women.

Watch this video 
(Hans Lindor posted this on his Goodreads page):

My Review:

Hans Leger and his family lived in Haiti.  They were from a well to do family.  His driver picked him up from school one day and took him and his brother downtown (and they were supposed to keep this secret from his parents).  When they went to town they got a look at what the less fortunate in Haiti really lived like.  The air stank so bad that Hans threw up.  A girl caught his attention. He thought she was about 15.  She wore a dress that was torn and had a little toddler with her who was about 3 or 4.  Hans could tell that the little boy was hungry.  He skipped school the next day to go back to town.  He found out the girl's name is Marie  and the little toddler is her baby.  It was the result of being raped.  You will need to read the book to find out more about how Marie ended up on the streets.

Hans' father was gunned down, and Hans and his family were forced to go to Miami.  It was a big culture shock. Hans learned from his friends that in America, kids could disrespect their parents.  The American kids were mean though. Actually, it wasn't just the kids.  He was discriminated against.  His mother really wanted to return to Haiti. You will need to read the book to find out what happened in their lives.

I really kept thinking I was reading a memoir while I was reading this book.  It really made me see what life in Haiti is really like.  The lives of the children in Haiti is very sad.  I am so glad I got the chance to read this book and find out more about it. My eyes were opened to what some people are going through.

I Am Going Where I Belong was an amazing book, and I highly recommend it. For being only 150 pages long, there really was a lot packed into it.  I felt myself tearing up as I read about the lives of these poor Haitian children. 

Watching this little boy fighting his mother for a lunch I probably would have wasted made me realize how fortunate I was.  To them, this egg sandwich was a treasure, and to me it belonged in the trash. p.11

I was called a nigger, stupid, anda dirty Haitian by my own race, although these words had no meaning to me.  "Go back to your country," a white student once shouted at me. p.34

Even blacks that are born here in this country are not yet accepted, and they still fight for their rights and equality. p. 45

My Rating:

5/5 Diamonds

Amazing Book - Highly Recommend for Purchase!

Buy the book here:

Disclaimer: Hans Lindor provided me a signed copy of this book for review.  I was not compensated for my review. My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist. They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel.

 © 2011, Cheryl of Black Diamond's Book Reviews. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Black Diamond's Book Reviews, Urban Image Magazine, or Cheryl's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. This book sounds so powerful Cheryl! I really enjoyed the honest interview also. What is happening to those children of Haiti is horrific. Child trafficking is a big business in the US and other countries...thanks for bringing the book to us and for giving Hans Lindor a voice today on your blog!

  2. oh my, i must have Mr Lindor on my blog also. I'm running out to get this book. Thanks for including an interview with Mr. Lindor and presenting his book.