Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates | Rating: ★★★★★
“You must resist the common urge toward the comforting narrative of divine law, toward fairy tales that imply some irrepressible justice. The enslaved were not bricks in your road, and their lives were not chapters in your redemptive history. They were people turned to fuel for the American machine. Enslavement was not destined to end, and it is wrong to claim our present circumstance—no matter how improved—as the redemption for the lives of people who never asked for the posthumous, untouchable glory of dying for their children. Our triumphs can never compensate for this.”
As a note, a printed galley of this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.
Ta-Nehisi Coates has been on my radar for a long time and Between the World and Me was easily one of my most anticipated books of 2015. But who wasn’t waiting for this one? I was so beyond thrilled to see a galley reach my mailbox of it and I was so hyped to start it.
And between you and me, readers, it was all worth it.
If there’s one book you want to buy this year, only one based on reviews and praise, make it Between the World and Me. There are a lot of reasons why this book is so important in the talk on status of race and the racism which still exists today. Coates puts all of this into words that are full of raw emotion and truths. It's not a simple assessment, but describing it is simply put by saying "this book, this--this is necessary."
Nearly everyone that has since read Coates work will know what we all mean when we say that this needs to be required reading in our school systems.
It doesn't matter what age you are, what race you are, what you do, where you're from--this is one of the most important books you will have ever read in your entire life.
What makes this novel so moving and so striking, on a more simple note, is its format. Don’t let the length fool you, it DOES seem short in pages, it’s full of so much truth, so much heart, so much honesty–nothing is left watered down. Page count and size is irrelevant. This book may be tiny but it packs a massive punch and will leave readers in a pool of thoughts and emotions. It makes matters better that the format is so intimate due to it being a letter to his son.
Think of it as a collection of essays and letters. A lot of people do not like this way of writing and I understand that it’s different taste, that everything is subjective, but I find when a story is told like this it’s all the more intimate and you are more inclined to feel and listen. Coates voice is so strong when he puts pen to paper, it will blow audiences away and I find it so, so easy to get lost in what he is saying.
Between the World and Me will pull on heartstrings in its frank discussion on racism in modern times. You'll hear of experiences, talk of the wrongful violence by the hands of racism. All those excuses that people make for the injustice. I don’t want to get into much on his thoughts (no, not thoughts or observations–it feels wrong of me to say it that way considering all he says is true) but readers will find themselves nodding along to his words.
It's a hell of a scary world out there and his words ring true to the harsh realities.
The way that Coates tackles these truths and the system we live in, is breathtakingly honest and there’s no other way to describe it. You will know what I'm talking about once you read it for yourself.
His thoughts are so to the point that you can feel the punch to your gut as you see him speak so candidly to his son. BTWAM isn’t full of answers but that’s not its purpose: Coates gives a powerful view of the world we live in and what struggles and injustices come about in it.
There's no tip toeing around topics, there's no sugar coating and that's, ultimately, the most important part of his work.
Grab yourself a highlighter and get ready for discussions when it comes down to this guy. There's so much that can be said about it but really, a simple review doesn't feel like enough. I found myself circling and highlighting and making so many notes in the pages that, at the end of the day, it feels like you've highlighted every sentence. That's my biggest note in describing it.
Believe the hype, guys.
Believe it and buy this book as soon as possible.
Between the World and Me is indescribable and so, so important.
Hands down one of the best pieces of published work of this year.