Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Fire This Time by Jesmyn Ward-Book Review

There are certain books that I think should be required reading, especially around certain topics-race for example. The Fire This Time by Jesmyn Ward is one of those books to read right now!

This is a collection of essays all told from the black perspective in America. The essays range in topics from poetry to questions about identity through a DNA test to James Baldwin to the white response to black protests. The essays are broken out into Past, Present, and Future, but many contain the past woven throughout the essay. As Ward points out- it is too difficult to remove slavery and/or civil rights from the equation. Each essay is a unique voice around the same topic- race, especially those who are black in America.

Like any collection of essays, there will be some that hit and some that miss or don't connect. There were several in this collection that I have been talking about to my friends since I read the book such as the one on James Baldwin. I have also found the one on White Rage as an essay that I want to study in a room filled with white men and women to get their take on it. It blew me away.

I am not summarizing the essays because many are fairly short and cover only a few pages, but they are still thought provoking. What I have been wondering is whether or not this essay collection will hold up against time? Baldwin's classic (to which this is a response/continuation) holds up as timeless, while this essay collection has a lot of contemporary topics which I wonder if, in 10 years, people will remember their feelings? This is why I have been pushing my friends to read it now. 

We are in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, we remember our feelings around Katrina and saw the people being forgotten about because they were black, and we have seen black men shot and left in the street. This essay collection hits those feelings now and this needs to be read now.

I gave this one 4.5 stars.

Here is your Amazon link- The Fire This Time by Jesmyn Ward

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