Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America by Ibi Zoboi


Black Enough by Ibi Zoboi, Tracey Baptiste, Coe Booth, Dhonielle Clayton, Brandy Colbert, Jay Coles, Lamar Giles, Leah Henderson
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Black Enough is a star-studded anthology edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi that will delve into the closeted thoughts, hidden experiences, and daily struggles of black teens across the country. From a spectrum of backgrounds—urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—Black Enough showcases diversity within diversity.

Whether it’s New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds writing about #blackboyjoy or Newbery Honor-winning author Renee Watson talking about black girls at camp in Portland, or emerging author Jay Coles’s story about two cowboys kissing in the south—Black Enough is an essential collection full of captivating coming-of-age stories about what it’s like to be young and black in America.
4 out of 5 stars
I've been black the entirety of my life. I knew I was inherently different just by walking down the streets and doing quick visual comparisons of my skin next to someone's much lighter skin. Or the fact that my hair needed to be straightened to cooperate in the way I needed it to--while everyone else seemed to possess the hair I had to fight for. Or, how I couldn't walk into a store without "covertly" being asked if I needed help--or blatantly followed by security guards that were darker than me. But, I digress. Blackness is apart of who I am, and who I'll always be.

Black Enough reminds me of this blackness. It's a reminder of the okayness of being black. It's a road map and a flashing sign for black people, it's a bruh man head nod of understanding.

I'm not a huge anthology fan so I'll be honest I picked up this title strictly because it featured a group of Black young adult author's I've grown to admire.

Each story takes on the task of telling a story from some section of the black experience--even touching base on things in the simplest of ways, police brutality and, racism as a whole.

Each story was unique and put together in a way that made the most sense for what the novel set out to accomplish.

I felt seen and heard in a way I wish the world could see and hear all black people. It's not so much that we're different but that we're the same in the ways that relate us--and in ways that matter.

I'm not going to review each story because there's quite a few of them and it would take far more time than I believe is fair.

As far as negatives, or things I didn't like, there was this underlying hate towards religion or the belief of God--however you choose to define it, that I didn't like. There appeared to be in my honest opinion an undertone of distaste for what's considered Europen religion, Christianity specifically. I'm assuming it was used to further or make a point but it came off a little hateful. Don't @ me.

This was a minute thing in the grand scheme of things--as my opinion is mostly positive. As I I said, this is blackness personified, at least from the teen perspective, HOWEVER, any adult could relate to these stories. I mean, we all were once teenagers at some point, right? Not to mention all of the things, okay some has happened to one of us at some point.

My favorite of the stories was The Ingredients by Jason Reynolds which brought me home to NYC and brought with it the jovial happiness associated with youth--and how unimportant all else seems.

Girl Stop Playing by Liara Tamani--I am having a girl crush on Liara Tamani's amazing writing. The girl is good. And her story featuring the "I'm rough and tough with my afro puffs,' young black queen dealing with a boyfriend who doesn't fully understand and appreciate her. It was like a page ripped out of my teenage years--or at least it made me feel like a teen again.

Whoa by Rita Williams--Garcia--stumped me initially with its approach. It's an interesting take on meeting a slave in a bucket of steaming water--but it was actually pretty genius, intriguing and well-written.

Hackathon Summers by Coe Booth should've been a full-length YA contemp', just saying. Two African-American hackers competing in NYU competitions--and falling for one another in a world not designed to contain their budding romance. It was good and I need more.

If I had to conclude or summarize this book in any way it'd be that this was a black book prime for a time where it appears blacks are on the rise in all areas, positively. I hope it touches someone. I hope many black teens across the globe see themselves in any number of these stories--and I hope it reminds them of their experiences and most importantly reminds them that they aren't alone.


1 comment:

  1. That's lovely that you were able to relate to this book this much! I love when that can happen. I loved Ibi's debut and have wanted to try most of these authors. Maybe, this anthology is the way to go!