I’ve been reading the memoir How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones. What I like about the book is this: the story of a young, gay black man growing up in the south could go any number of expectedly tragic ways. And in the hands of a lesser writer, a story like Jones’s might have fallen prey to the unrelenting misery that is so often a substitute for poignancy. As it stands, however, How We Fight for Our Lives clips along without stopping to cry, and it’s this clear-eyed observation—this cataloguing of experience, and, by implication, the self—that makes Jones’s story by turns shocking, elegiac, and revelatory. Plus, he’s funny.
How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones. Simon & Schuster, October 2019.
Reviewer bio: Evan White is a graduate of the University of California, Davis. White co-founded Absurd Publications and published the anthology, All the Vegetarians in Texas Have Been Shot, in addition to the creative journal The Oddity.
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