Book Review: How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones

“However many masks we invent and deploy, in the end we cannot control what other people see when they look at us.” – Saeed Jones, How We Fight For Our Lives.

I had been meaning to read Saeed Jones’ memoir How We Fight For Our Lives all year. I had tickets to see him in Dallas last March but then the pandemic happened. All the wait was worth it. I loved it. So personal, and real and beautifully written. Saeed Jones grew up in Lewisville, TX not far from where I live. Raised by a single mom, a Buddhist, and learning how to love himself when the world has only tough words for gay Black men. His journey is inspiring, as he shows us how we all hate ourselves, hurt ourselves before making peace and embracing ourselves in all our complexities. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Book Review: Memorial or A Study on Relationships

I am a firm believer in second chances. Sometimes a book is not for you because of the place you are in as a reader or your own bias. But all authors deserve to be read again, and their stories must be told.

Though not a fan of Bryan Washington’s “Lot”, in that spirit I picked up his newest novel “Memorial”, coming out on October 6th, 2020 by Riverhead Books. I was taken by the maturity as a storyteller that is evident from “Lot” to “Memorial”, his humor and how accurately he portrays domesticity in relationships; the struggles to make a relationship work and how love is not always so clear-cut. This is a perfect novel to be dissected, analysed and discussed by book clubs; there is so much food for thought, so many issues to be discussed from race, multiculturalism, identity, love, marriage, commitment. Mike and Benson try to figure out their relationship, their bond to each other, as they discover who they are and who they want to be; and their different ethnic and economical backgrounds, family histories, play a role in how the relate to one another and the outside world. The fact that the story is told intermittently from each of their point of view, shows the reader how in relationships there are gaps in communication, assumptions on how the other person feels or what he/she/they think, and so many things left unsaid that contribute to creating fractions. It is really a fascinating story about love and relationships and finding a way to make it all work. I cannot recommend it enough.