Setting: Described above in the synopsis. This is more of a long letter written to the author’s son, so doesn’t really have a particular setting.
My copy came from: Borrowed from my local library.
Review: Intense, powerful, and thought provoking. I can’t say that I liked it, but I can certainly appreciate it.
Between the World and Me is told as a letter written by the author, Ta-Nehisi Coates, to his fifteen-year-old son. Coates talks about the United States’ history, and “race”, and it is an illuminating book. I don’t know that I can really review this book, as it feels so real and raw that to pick it apart feels wrong.
But race is the child of racism, not the father.
The writing is damn near perfect. There are sections that brought me to tears; sections that angered me; sections that were so powerful it felt like I’d already heard the words before, but I knew that I had not.
The point of this language of “intention” and “personal responsibility” is broad exoneration. Mistakes were made. Bodies were broken. People were enslaved. We meant well. We tried our best. “Good intention” is a hall pass through history, a sleeping pill that ensures the Dream.
This would be a powerful discussion book. One that I feel should be discussed in college classrooms, and discussed among book clubs. What keeps me from liking, or loving the book, is the sense that as the reader I’m being “instructed”, or “dictated to”. The author is telling me how I should think, but that feeling fits with the style of book that this is. It is a letter, written by a father to his son, so it has that tone of knowledge and weight that a father has when he speaks with his son about something of import. So, that’s really the only thing holding me back from a 5 star rating.
Bottom Line: Intense, powerful, and thought provoking.
Have you read Between the World and Me? Have you discussed this book in a classroom setting?