I managed to read nine books this month! It is so hard to choose this month’s favorite. It was a tie between My Sister the Serial Killer and Thick: And Other Essays.
My Sister the Serial Killer is the story of two sisters, Korede and Ayoola. Korede is the serious, pragmatic sister. Most importantly, she is her sister’s keeper. Ayoola is the wild, beautiful and carefree sister. Ayoola is also a serial killer who has no problems killing her boyfriends and calling her sister to clean up her mess – literally. And each time, Korede does it. They have fallen into this pattern, but things change a bit when Ayoola starts dating a doctor that Korede has a crush on. She is stuck between wanting to protect him from her crazy serial killer sister and jealousy because she wants the doctor for herself. This book was dark and disturbing – but funny! My only complaint is the ending. I needed more. I would be more than happy if there were a sequel.
Thick: And Other Essays is a collection of essays about being a black woman in America. Tressie McMillan Cottom does an amazing job at intelligently pointing out our plight. This book is a cross between scholarly writing and memoir. There are several chapters that I must re-visit. My favorite chapter was “Know Your Whites.” I will admit that this chapter made me a bit uncomfortable (which isn’t always a bad thing) by calling out the Obamas *gasp*. Beyond that, her personal account of fighting for decent healthcare as a pregnant black woman and calling out all that diversity is and isn’t was a huge eye opener. I love a book that makes me think and think differently.
BUCK: A Memoir, by M. K. Asante is the story of how a rebellious teen found his way and his voice. Born in Zimbabwe to American parents, growing up in Philly with a wayward older brother, a mom with mental health issues, a father who abandons the family and so much more, it seemed like Buck would never get his life on track. But, he ends up in an alternative school and it changes his life for the better. It’s an inspiring story.
The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips was a frustratingly sad and addictive story. I was mad and sad and wanted to stop reading but I could NOT stop reading! Tangy Mae is one of her mother’s six children. She is treated differently (to say the least) because of her color. Her mother is wreckless in many ways and her children want nothing more than to get away from her. In addition to her home life, she must also deal with life in a small town in the 1950’s and all of the strife that entails. What she and her siblings endure is brutal (and most of the times, the brutality comes straight from their mother). But even with all of the pain, I always felt hope for Tangy. She was smart and she enjoyed learning, reading and school. Tangy manages to navigate and survive although all the odds are stacked against her.
The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers, by Bridgett M. Davis is a funny, emotional and coming of age story about Fannie Davis and her career as a numbers runner. Fannie’s “career” was a family secret, but Fannie managed to build a wonderful middle class life for her family in the number running game. I never even considered how much time and effort this line of business requires. Fannie was good! I also never considered the history of the lottery and it’s place within our history. I was actually sad when the lottery became a state thing and threatened Fannie’s business! How dare they? I also enjoyed how the author weaved in her family’s Great Migration story. Fannie was a typical Black mama with an atypical career, but she made things happen. This was a great read.
Training School for Negro Girls and Creative Quest didn’t thrill me like I hoped they would and ended up with 3 (ok…maybe 3.5) stars. They Were Her Property was an enlightening book, but I found it to be a bit slow. That one gets 3 stars.
My least favorite book of the month was Children of Blood and Bone. I know…everyone loved it – don’t @ me. I really WANTED to love it, but I did not. However, I think my lack of love has more to do with me than the book. I am not a Harry Potter/magic/maji/secret scroll kind of girl. This is not my genre. I felt like I was transported back to high school when I was forced to read the Iliad and the Odyssey. I wanted nothing more than for it to just be over. I had that same feeling with this book. And it didn’t help that it was kinda slow and didn’t pick up until the middle. Again, I know…this is a very unpopular opinion. Deal. This was my book club’s pick. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have read it. I know my literary lane and I try very hard to stay within it.
What are you reading? I want to know