Friday, January 24, 2014

Men We Reaped: A Memoir," by Jesmyn Ward

When I heard author Jesmyn Ward being interviewed on the radio about her new book, “Men We Reaped: A Memoir” (Bloomsbury, 2013), I thought it must be an unbearably sad book to read. It tells the story of five young men in her life, including her brother, in the small town, poor area of Mississippi where she grew up, who died very early of accidents, drugs, or suicide. I almost didn’t read it because of the painful topic, but something about the power of the story and her engaging voice made me read it anyway. The book is in fact unbearably sad to read, as I predicted. But it is also a moving tribute to these young men and to their energy, their life force, their love of and caring for their families and friends, and the potential they had that was obstructed at every turn in a world where poor young black men have so little opportunity. This book is Ward’s way of remembering these young men, and making sure others know them and their stories. Further, it is her tribute to her home community, to her extended family, and to the siblings, cousins, and friends she grew up with. Although she went to college and graduate school at prestigious universities far away from her home, she always went home for vacations and breaks, and now as an accomplished published writer and professor, she again lives in her home town. This is a beautifully written and moving memoir, as well as an anguished and powerful indictment of racial inequality in the United States. [On another note: Today is the four-year anniversary of this blog.]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Site Meter