a few complex tales
of complex people living
life on the bottom
FIRST TONI MORRISON BOOK! Where is my gold star? Except, honestly, I should have read her before now. I guess I understand why this book in particular might not have been on high school reading lists (“mature content”), and perhaps others are similar, but I have a lot of catching up to do.
I just loved that this was a book filled with black characters, particularly focused on black women, and exhibiting their rich, full, complicated, sometimes ugly lives. I loved the tale of two black girls who grew up friends, kept each other’s secrets, grew apart, learned to hate each other, and attempted reconciliation in the end. I loved it for the ways their stories match mine, and also for the ways they don’t.
You know what this reminds me of? The way Ta-Nehisi Coates describes Howard University in BTWAM – and I’m surprised that I didn’t mention that in my review, because it really impacted me. I loved reading a description of a world that I will never be a part of, because it’s a world that exists when there is freedom from the white gaze, from white influence, from…I’m failing to say this in a way that is coherent, but part of it is that I suspect these characters wouldn’t be allowed to be so at ease, so fully themselves, if I were standing in the room. That’s brokenness – and we’ve all inherited it through generations of racism and racialized systems, and there’s hope that one day we can move past this brokenness, but for now I’m just happy to have the option to be a fly on the wall through books like this.