Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Summary: This was one of the most eye-opening, intellectually engaging books I’ve ever read.
If I’m honest, I’ve been putting off reading this book for ages. I’ve been nervous to pick it up both because I knew it wouldn’t be a “fun” or a light read and because I feel there’s a lot of room for me to put my foot in my mouth reviewing it. However, I’ve heard great things about it and think it’s an important book to read, so I decided to use the push from Nonfiction November and pick this up. To paraphrase the book summary, this is a book written as a letter to the author’s son attempting to answer questions about what it means to be a black man in America through his experiences and thoughtful commentary.
As expected, this was a tough read. It’s a deceptively short book that’s the heaviest thing I’ve read all year. When I wasn’t reading this book, I was thinking about it. It’s the only book I’ve ever written in. Sometimes the language was so beautiful or a sentence felt so revelatory to me that I had to underline it or write my response in the margins with an excessive number of exclamation points. I wanted to re-read it and think about it more even as I was reading it for the first time.
Allison at The Book Wheel wrote in her review about all the emotions this book made her feel and I experienced a similar range of responses – anger, sorrow, helplessness, guilt. Those emotions have stuck with me and left me wondering where to go from here. I know I’m not the author’s intended audience, but I’m deeply appreciative of his book for making me think about issues I should be thinking about already. I feel my words are inadequate to describe this book, so I can only recommend you read it yourself. If you don’t believe me, there’s a review from Rick Riordan on goodreads that explains why this book is so important more eloquently than I ever could.