Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson is one of those memoirs, like The Glass Castle written by another Jeannette but with the last name Walls, that leaves you feeling flabbergasted, angry, and sad at the way grown folks who choose to become parents treat their children. In the case of Winterson, she is the adoptive daughter of a woman whom she refers to as Mrs. Winterson. Jeanette writes: “Books, for me, are a home. Books don’t make a home–they are one, in the sense that just as you do with a door, you open a book and you go inside. Inside there is a different kind of time and a different kind of space.”
I usually don’t like second-person narration, but the memoir also doubles as a letter to his mother, almost a love letter even. Even though she was abusive, he loved and loves her still and wishes to tell her all he experienced and went through growing up as a young Black man in America. Southern America. “I looked like a big, dark, black man since I was an eleven-year-old boy.” As a teen and a passenger in his mother’s car, a police officer pulled her over but asked for his ID, assuming he was an adult. Thank goodness his mother had the wherewithal to know her rights and to inform the cops that the passenger was not only her son, but a minor.
It’s no wonder Harris’s soul looks back. Through a romance with Sam, a colleague more than ten years her senior, she ran in the same circles as Sam’s best friend James (Jimmy) Baldwin, Maya Angelou, and Toni Morrison.
More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are by Elaine Welteroth My rating: 3 of 5 stars Reading Elaine Welteroth’s memoir More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say) was right on time. While I could certainly relate to her experiences of being a creative and independent child, failed romances when we really should’ve known better, and chasing dream jobs, Chapter 21: Burning Out, in particular, resonated with me. It led to a […]
The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers by Bridgett M. Davis My rating: 4 of 5 stars As I was reading the last pages of The World According to Fannie Davis, the palm of my right hand began to itch. I smiled. In Haitian culture, an itchy hand means that you’re getting money. It can also mean that you’re losing money, depending on the hand. I can never remember which, so I called my […]
#BlackLoveBooks Challenge Day 12: LGBTQ: a book written by or about LGBTQ community I can’t say much about I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyoncé. It’s a recent purchase and still on my TBR list. I kept hearing good things about it, so I had to get it. With such an interesting title, I know the book is bound to be humorous. It’s compared to Phoebe Johnson’s You Can’t Touch My […]
Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah My rating: 5 of 5 stars Let me tell you how much I enjoyed reading Trevor Noah’s memoir, Born a Crime. When I got home late Thursday night aka Shonda Rhimes Night aka Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal Night, I opted to continue reading to finish the book, instead of tuning in to the tear-jerker and suspenseful shows, respectfully. I could’ve easily saved the last few pages for the […]
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi My rating: 4 of 5 stars Paul Kalanithi could have easily become a writer, but felt a stronger calling to become a neurosurgeon instead. After he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, he focused his time to draft his beautifully written memoir When Breath Becomes Air. The son and brother of doctors was at first deterred by the medical profession which he attributed to his father’s absence from many childhood memories; however, […]
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes My rating: 4 of 5 stars Shonda Rhimes is a liar. Her word, not mine. She calls herself this because she likes to make up stuff, all the time. Lucky for her it’s paid off. The highly successful ABC shows Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, and Private Practice (no longer on air) are spawns of what […]