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Far Away from Close to Home: Essays

por Vanessa Baden Kelly

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Esta reseña ha sido escrita por los Primeros Reseñadores de LibraryThingSUB2>.
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The essays “Unreliable Narrator” and “Joggers” should be used in every writing class and should be required reading for the nation. Now go buy this book.
Okay, the review needs to be longer.
When one reads essays, one should hope to be at least challenged to think of things a different way and from a different view. It is a delicate tightrope for the writer to walk because it will alienate some readers (some people hate any different view), but the writer doesn’t want to alienate all readers while challenging them. Sometimes the challenge is to long held briefs, and people get very protective of those things. Vanessa Baden Kelly walks this tightrope extremely well.
She challenges views – how we see neighborhoods, homeless, public transportations, how she see herself, how we see actions such as jogging, as well as how we see family. The subtitle of her book is a “A Black Millennial Woman in Progress” but the subtitle could readily be adapted to any issue addressed in the book.
While the first essay is perhaps the weakest, the rest of the essays are engrossing, challenging and bloody brilliant.
There is an essay about how her perception of being black and a mother as well as activist changed when she become a mother. The rawness of the essay, the power is just something. “Bloodline of a Name” is a meditation on family and what makes a bloodline. But it is also a look at death and how we process, both legally and emotionally, the death of a loved one. “Miracle of Black Love” not only challenges how Black love is portrayed in the media and the damage that it can do in relationships and to people, but also on the subtle difference between how black girls and white girls are taught about love. She made me think about how when I teach and the topic of sexual history comes up in class debate. It is usually black men who talk about the master lock and master key (don’t ask), and focus on how a woman should not have a sexual history. The white men, not so much. I’ve never thought about that difference before.
The best essays are “Joggers” and “Unreliable Narrator”. “Joggers” is about, in part, the murder of Ahmaud Arbery but also how a seemingly simple action, such as going for a jog, can have on a neighborhood or a group of people. It is a way of seeing jogging that is not touched on or talked about widely. It is important that this essays is more widely read. Her “Unreliable Narrator” touches at first on the issue of writing but the points, the challenge it presents to viewpoints is so vitally important that it should be required reading in writing classes and by those who teach writing. (As an aside, white men who teach literature really don’t seem to respect/like/value Toni Morrison. Bastards.)
This isn’t to say that the essays are for white people to get us to look at the world differently. That’s part of what they do, undoubtedly but the essays are really about her life, her being a woman of color, a Black woman, struggling to be who she wants to be, to come to terms with herself, and to discover herself. ( )
1 vota Chrisethier | Feb 12, 2021 |
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