Sunday, November 10, 2019

How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones

HOW WE FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES is such a great memoir. It's everything a "good" memoir should be-- sensual, moving, thoughtful, provoking, erotic, intense, and unique-- but it also opens up many meaningful discussions and dialogues about what it means to be black, what it means to be gay, what it means to be both, and how it feels to be part of a group that is singled out, even from within members of each disparate community (hence the ever-important need for intersectionality in political movements).

Saeed is a really great memoirist. His writing is gorgeous and flows. This is one of the first memoirs I've read in a while that almost feels like fiction, in that the author is able to distance himself from, well, himself, and write personally and honestly about his experiences without making you feel like he's trying to apologize for being the way he is or offer some sort of narrative direction. It makes the memoir feel really personal, and at the same time, you also feel like you're watching a story unfold.

I don't really have any complaints about this book. Some people have said that they did not like Saeed's choices (I can kind of guess which ones), but experience makes us who we are. I'm pretty hard to shock at this point, and felt like this memoir was very tame compared to others I have read. I liked how he melded his story with the concerns many people have with regard to racism and discrimination, and the parts about his mother were heart-wrenching.

Definitely a must-read for those looking for great new books by black and/or LGBT+ authors.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!  

4 to 4.5 out of 5 stars

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