In four years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men she cared deeply about. On the surface, these men, including her brother, died from drug overdose, homicide, suicide, and car crashes. However, in her struggle to make sense of these deaths, Ward sees a deeper cause. These men died because they were male and Southern and Black*. In her memoir, Ward tells the story of her family, memorializes the men she lost, and seeks insight into their deaths.
Men We Reaped is a devastating, gut-wrenching book. Anyone who has read Ward’s National Book Award-winning novel Salvage the Bones knows how elementally powerful her writing is, and Men We Reaped is possibly even stronger. It howls with grief as she tries to deal with the losses she has suffered and her constant fear of more bad news as the men she loves die, one by one. Continue reading →
I read some pretty awesome books that were published this year (list to come once I finish The Goldfinch — ha!), but I also read a lot of fantastic backlist books, too. I love dipping into older titles, whether they’re classics that I want to read as part of my literary self-education or more recent books that people are still talking about years after their publication. It’s actually one of my resolutions for 2014 to accept fewer books for review and take more time to read older titles; they’re really piling up on my bookshelf!
Bloomsbury, Aug. 2011
Paperback, 258 pages
In Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, the radio warns of an impending hurricane, but the Batiste children aren’t worried. Only their hard-drinking, widowed father is concerned that this hurricane will be worse than all of the others his family has experienced.
As Daddy prepares for the hurricane, Esch, our fifteen-year-old narrator, struggles with her discovery that she is pregnant; Skeeter takes care of his prized pit bull, China, and her newborn puppies; Randall practices for an important basketball game; and Junior, the youngest, is just gets into everyone else’s business. Continue reading →