Last month I posted about a reading challenge I set for myself, to read more authors of color, particularly Black authors.
I will be posting full reviews over on my book blog, but so far I’ve finished 3 books from my list this month. I have two more checked out from the library, but haven’t finished them yet.
The books I finished are: Saving Savannah, Ayesha at Last, and Flygirl. I’m almost done with Deathless Divide and hope to finish it this week.
Both Flygirl and Deathless Divide deal a lot with “passing privilege,” when a Black person is pale enough to pass for white, and the benefits and drawbacks thereof, particularly in the era of Jim Crow and prominent color lines. Saving Savannah was a perspective I’d never seen before–that of a wealthy Black teen in the 1920s. Most books I’ve read about Black teens usually involve extreme poverty, or are perhaps middle class, but it was interesting to see how this wealthy family and their friends treated other people of color who didn’t have the same privileges. The main character’s best friend looks down hard on other people of color because they are too dark, or have accents, or weren’t born in America, or are poor. She believes that by associating with “those people,” the main character is making everyone from “their set” look bad. This was a perspective I was unaware of until I started reading the book.
I really enjoyed Ayesha at last, but I did have a couple of issues with it. It’s an adult contemporary romance between a liberal young Muslim woman and the very conservative man who lives across the street. While I did like their relationship, I just wasn’t a big fan of Khalid; in my experience people who are that conservative and judgmental are just not willing to make any kind of concessions or broaden their world view, and he made me uncomfortable. This is probably my own biases clouding things, but I did really like Ayesha and this was a fun twist on Pride and Prejudice.
I’ll talk about Deathless Divide more in my next update, but so far I am really enjoying it, though it is a tough read, dealing a lot with grief, anger, and loss. My next book is going to be a kids book, but one I knew I had to read when I saw it: “These are My Words.” It is the fictional account of a young first nations girl attending a Canadian residential school, and I’m really looking forward to it.
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