Posted in Reviews

Review: I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones

I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones – ⭐⭐⭐

Recommended:
yes
For a totally wild ride through a normal town gone mad, for reluctant allies forced to help each other when no one else will, for race relations sprinkled throughout, for a story that starts with a bang and only gets more intense from there, for teachers looking for conversation starters about racial issues in America

I love a clever cover 😍

Summary:
Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend, and a plan. She knows she’s going to make it big. Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school. When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos born from violence and hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together. They aren’t friends. They hardly understand the other’s point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they’re going to survive the night.

Thoughts:
I mean honestly this book was its own kind of terrifying. The escalation happened so quickly, and yet the inciting incidents for it were something I could easily see occurring at so many schools. I didn’t have to wait long for the action to start, but once it started it didn’t stop. Right up until the last chapters, the tension was carried the whole way through. I was so clenched up while reading this, so on edge wondering what was going to happen. I literally delayed dinner and made my S.O. wait so I could finish the book, because even the last pages were critical.

Continue reading “Review: I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From

In contrast to throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From by Jennifer De Leon.
Expected Release: August 18, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • I can always support a book with a woman deciding to stand up and be herself – and screw other people’s comfort. With Liliana moving into a mostly-white fancy prep school, she’s forced to learn a bit about cruelty and racism. I hate that, but I hope to see her strength no longer be needed someday.
  • Her family bonds sounds tight, but the wrench of her father being deported and the colossal shake up of her perception of her life that comes with that… I cannot imagine what it would be like. Hopefully I can get some glimmer of insight.
  • It sounds like there will be a really strong voice for this novel. Even just reading the blurb gave me a sense of how Liliana might think and sound. If so much can be conveyed just from that, I have high expectations of the entire novel! Very promising.

Summary:
Fifteen-year-old Liliana is fine, thank you very much. It’s fine that her best friend, Jade, is all caught up in her new boyfriend lately. It’s fine that her inner-city high school is disorganized and underfunded. It’s fine that her father took off again—okay, maybe that isn’t fine, but what is Liliana supposed to do? She’s fifteen! Being left with her increasingly crazy mom? Fine. Her heathen little brothers? Fine, fine, fine. But it turns out Dad did leave one thing behind besides her crazy family. Before he left, he signed Liliana up for a school desegregation program called METCO. And she’s been accepted.

Being accepted into METCO, however, isn’t the same as being accepted at her new school. In her old school, Liliana—half-Guatemalan and half-Salvadorian—was part of the majority where almost everyone was a person of color. But now at Westburg, where almost everyone is white, the struggles of being a minority are unavoidable. It becomes clear that the only way to survive is to lighten up—whiten up. And if Dad signed her up for this program, he wouldn’t have just wanted Liliana to survive, he would have wanted her to thrive. So what if Liliana is now going by Lili? So what if she’s acting like she thinks she’s better than her old friends? It’s not a big deal. It’s fine.

But then she discovers the gutting truth about her father: He’s not on one of his side trips. And it isn’t that he doesn’t want to come home…he can’t. He’s undocumented and he’s been deported back to Guatemala. Soon, nothing is fine, and Lili has to make a choice: She’s done trying to make her white classmates and teachers feel more comfortable. Done changing who she is, denying her culture and where she came from. They want to know where she’s from, what she’s about? Liliana is ready to tell them.

Posted in Reviews

Mini reviews from June

Hey y’all! For maybe the first time ever, I actually DID fully review most of the books I read last month! And in the same month that I read them! That’s a habit I’ve been working to better, so I’m proud to show that it’s finally coming together. 😁 Then again, I’m posting my mini-reviews when it’s almost halfway through July already, so a bit of a give and take there. 😂

Last month’s completed reviews are linked below! As for the remaining four books I read last month, they’re this month’s batch of mini reviews.

Fully reviewed books

Mini reviewed books below

All book covers link to the Goodreads page for the book with the blurb & additional info!

  1. Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob
  2. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
  3. White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
  4. City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

2 Sentence Summary
Mira tries to answer her son’s questions about being black when his dad is white. It’s not easy with cops killing black people on the daily and a racist president.

Frankly, this one didn’t get a review because it was just so hard for me to capture all that I would want to say about it. It was enlightening and painful and offers no resolution for the pain, because no one really has one yet. This was an original style of graphic novel done in a collage and conversation format. I absolutely loved both elements and would be thrilled to see more like this.

Continue reading “Mini reviews from June”
Posted in Reviews

What I Learned From WHITE FRAGILITY — Part 4

White women: leave the room if you gotta cry

This one rang pretty true for me, because I cry easily and know that I would absolutely be the one to fall into this category without realizing the issues it carries. It might seem strange to hear this. You might think that being moved to tears by the plight of black people is a positive thing, as it shows your compassion and horror; who could hold that against you?

Actually…

White women’s tears in cross-racial interactions are problematic for several reasons connected to how they impact others. For example, there is a long historical backdrop of black men being tortured and murdered because of a white woman’s distress, and we white women bring these histories with us.

Emmett Till was a name I had never heard (whiteness showing clearly here.) For any others who haven’t heard it, a brief history lesson: a white women told her husband a black man had been flirting with her in their store, so the white man got a bunch of friends together and brutally killed the black man. They were tried and let go without any punishment. The woman later confessed that she had made it up.

Emmett Till was fourteen.

Continue reading “What I Learned From WHITE FRAGILITY — Part 4”
Posted in Reviews

What I Learned From WHITE FRAGILITY — Part 3

I recently finished reading White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, and have been working through my major learnings from it. The book focuses on the issues white people have with understanding and talking about race issues in the US, and the way the country socializes people into racism. If you haven’t already, check out my first post about this! Here are a few more key points that DiAngelo discusses, and that struck home for me.


White people “carry” race, too

This is building on the idea from Part 2 about white people asking black people to tell them about race. I’ll come back to this quote:

The expectation that people of color should teach white people about racism is another aspect of white racial innocence that reinforces several problematic racial assumptions. First, it implies that racism is something that happens to people of color and has nothing to do with us and that we consequently cannot be expected to have any knowledge of it.

White people experience race even if they are never around non-white people in their whole lives. The very fact that that might happen is a consequence of race: ask yourself why there are no non-white people living in the area you live in. Why aren’t you living in an area where there are more black people than white people? What differences between those two places would you imagine to exist? Portraying black people as the only ones with a race is ridiculous; there can’t be one without the other. If black is a race, why wouldn’t white be? Which leads us to the next issue…

Continue reading “What I Learned From WHITE FRAGILITY — Part 3”
Posted in Reviews

What I Learned From WHITE FRAGILITY — part 2

I recently finished reading White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, and have been working through my major learnings from it. The book focuses on the issues white people have with understanding and talking about race issues in the US, and the way the country socializes people into racism. If you haven’t already, check out my first post about this! Here are a few more key points that DiAngelo discusses, and that struck home for me.


Pretending race doesn’t exist makes the problem worse

I’m sure I’ve said it myself when I was younger and thought this made sense: that white or black doesn’t matter, I don’t even notice it when talking to or getting to know someone.

Actually…

stopping our racist patterns must be more important than working to convince others that we don’t have them. We do have them, and people of color already know we have them; our efforts to prove otherwise are not convincing.

That really doesn’t help the issue, because it’s essentially pretending that the issues don’t exist, despite the glaringly obvious issue of white supremacy and a system designed to keep Black people in the lowest rungs of society. Saying you’re color-blind or don’t see race ends with you refusing to even partake in a discussion about race, let alone try to take action to change it. This also makes people whose lives are inevitably shaped by racism in the US feel devalued and ignored, because you’re telling them that this exhausting unfair part of their life doesn’t even merit your acknowledgement.

Continue reading “What I Learned From WHITE FRAGILITY — part 2”
Posted in Reviews

What I Learned from WHITE FRAGILITY — Part 1

I recently picked up a copy of White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo from the library when I saw that they had made it an “always available” title, likely due to the recent surge in people working to educate themselves on the institutionalized racism in the United States and what white people can do to change it.

I am so glad I did.

So much of what was written rang true and made so much sense. I feel like I am far better prepared to be an active ally for change than I ever have been in the past. I’m working on moving from non-racist to anti-racist, and learning why the difference is so important. I learned a lot from this book, and I’m going to have to break this into a few posts because there was just so much.

My goal here is not only to reinforce my own learning, but to help anyone else who might not be able to get a copy, or to whom these concepts are also new. Consider this a short primer, and I encourage you to pick up this book or one of the many others being recommended right now.


Racism is not an event, it’s a system

I had always envisioned racism as something one person does to another. Denying services, physical or verbal abuse, using slurs: those things were racist. In my mind, if you didn’t do those things, you were good, because you clearly weren’t racist!

Actually…

David Wellman succinctly summarizes racism as “a system of advantage based on race.”

This means that it’s not just something that occurs on an individual level, but rather a societal level. The government of the United States and the values supported inherently support white people. Therefore the US is built on a system that advantages whites — the exact definition above.

Continue reading “What I Learned from WHITE FRAGILITY — Part 1”