Whenever I see a memoir being published about someone who hasn’t even hit 50 yet, I’m always skeptical. Not because I don’t think the life of the person hasn’t been interesting, but because I wonder how much life that person has actually experienced at such a young age. Well, poet and Pushcart Prize-winning author Saeed Jones has experienced things: some good, some bad and one experience that had me crying for over half an hour.
In his new memoir, How We Fight For Our Lives, Mr. Jones talks about what it was like for him while coming to terms with his sexuality, not just as a gay black man in the South, but as one who tries to navigate said identity around his family, friends, religion and potential lovers. It is raw and emotional, with some details almost too much to read. He lays his life and heart on the table for all to see. One such example is his relationship with his grandmother and how it changed when she thought he was being too “wordly.” His telling of what happened while they were in church had me seething, so much so that I had to put the book down for a few minutes. And that wasn’t the only time my emotions got the better of me while reading this book.
Mr. Jones has a talent for pulling emotions out of the reader from deep within themselves, which is why I was crying as I read the last section of his book. He writes with an intensity that forces the reader to look and really see what he is showing to us. He could have saved what he wrote about his mother for himself, but Mr. Jones shared that part of his life so beautifully that I could not hold back the tears that were threatening to flow earlier. I bookmarked so many passages in that section that I wanted to quote, but I would rather you read them yourselves. Just make sure you have plenty of tissues with you when you do.
How We Fight For Our Lives will be out in October, so you have plenty of time to pre-order this excellent book. I highly recommend it. I will post any information should the author go on a book tour. I really hope he does.
I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley.