This book I didn't realize what I was getting into when I got it but I am glad I read it. It opened my eyes to a lot of things and it is an easy read.
Graphic: Sexual content, Sexual violence, Toxic relationship, and Self harm
Graphic: Racism and Homophobia
Graphic: Death, Hate crime, Homophobia, Racial slurs, Racism, and Sexual content
Need some truly amazing prose in your life? Look no further, because HOW WE FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES is the best memoir I've read in ages.
While a lot of fiction I read features protagonists who look like me, I do my best to absorb nonfiction that shows and teaches me about life experiences outside my own. In HOW WE FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES, Saeed Jones describes his process of accepting himself as a gay black man while navigating spaces (including within his own family) that weren't receptive to his identity. While some memoirs get bogged down in maintaining a clear timeline, Jones isolates specific moments from his childhood through adulthood that highlight his personal evolution. I much preferred this structure to authors who include too much extraneous detail.
In addition to the just glorious writing, I was hooked by Jones's admiration and deep love for his mother. As someone also raised by a single mom, I really connected to those sections.
Fair warning: while not gratuitous, this memoir does include some graphic descriptions of sex.
#partner | I heard Jones interviewed on the KERA Think podcast and knew I needed to read this one. As a poet, Jones has a way with words that are powerful, eloquent, and impactful. Jones’ essays are an examination of what it means to be a young gay Black man living in the South. Not only does he ruminate on national headline stories, he also dissects his difficult relationships with his mother and grandmother. I loved Jones’ honesty and vulnerability.
I listened to the audiobook of this one. Jones reads it himself and I’m sure that that made this one that much more impactful for me. Jones gives his readers his heart and soul and I literally cried tears several times. Once again, books prove to be a window into another’s world - a place to learn empathy and compassion. I’m so grateful to be able to gain that understanding and I’m so appreciative of authors that open up their lives to help us become better humans.
I’d love to hear the last memoir you read that opened you up to a more compassionate and empathetic world!
Just wow. Saeed's voice and way with words were captivating. His story, though vastly different from any of my own life experiences, was relatable and eye-opening.
The last sentence was the best I've ever read.
Usually memoirs by people under 35 aren't that good because they haven't really done much or lived, but Saeed Jones's memoir is the exception. It's about growing up gay in Texas and the South. He struggles through his sexuality being accepted by his family, religion (his Buddhist mom talk obliquely about it and his evangelical Baptist Grandma thinks he's worldly ), and race (sex with white men. Seriously, if he had sex with any other race, they're not mentioned).
The language is beautiful but also harsh. The prose is great.
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