What’s it about?
This memoir tackles some tough subject matter. Saeed Jones is a gay, African-American man who was raised in Texas by a single mother. Mr. Jones memoir is an honest, frank look back at his life. He does not sugar coat his story- so be ready when you pick up his book.
What did it make me think about?
I have often thought that this may be the best time in history to come out as a gay man. However, after reading this book, I am not saying that anymore. Saeed Jones makes you understand how truly difficult it is to be black and gay in America- even today. "You never forget your first "faggot'. Because the memory, in its way, makes you. It becomes the spine for the body of anxieties and insecurities that will follow, something to hang all that meat on. Before you were scrawny; now you're scrawny because you're a faggot. Before you were just bookish; now you're bookish because you're a faggot.
Soon, bullies won't even have to say the word. Nor will friends, as they start to sit at different lunch tables without explanation. There will already be a voice in your head whispering 'faggot' for them."
Should I read it?
Saeed Jones is an award winning poet and the way he uses language is just beautiful. "Just as some cultures have a hundred words for 'snow', there should be a hundred words in our language for all the ways a black boy can lie awake at night." I found this one of the most compelling memoirs I have ever read. It is raw, honest, and sometimes more graphic than readers might be comfortable with. I urge you to read this book anyway. Maybe it will change the way you look at someone that is different from yourself.
"However many masks we invent and deploy, in the end, we cannot control what other people see when they look at us."
If you liked this try-
On Earth We're Breifly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
My Brother Moochie by Issac J. Bailey
All Over But the Shouting by Rick Bragg
Fire Shut up In My Bones by Charles M. Blow
9 1/2 stars
some favorites of the last decade
best of winter 2020
best of summer/fall 2019
best of winter/spring 2019
best of summer/ fall 2018
best of winter/spring 2017-18
best of spring/summer 2017
best of winter
best of summer 2014
last spring favorites
on my nightstand
edge of your seat
― Charles William Eliot
3 to 4- I found some aspect of this book redeeming but would not recommend it.
5 to 6- I really enjoyed something about this book (characters, plot, meaning etc.) but it was uneven. Some aspects were stronger than others.
7 to 8- It was a good book. I liked lots of aspects of this book. I would recommend it.
9 to 10- I was sorry to turn the last page. I highly recommend this book!