Black Boy Review

Title: Black Boy
Author: Richard Wright
Genre: Classic, Memoir

Blurb: Black Boy is a classic of American autobiography, a subtly crafted narrative of Richard Wright's journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South. An enduring story of one young man's coming of age during a particular time and place, Black Boy remains a seminal text in our history about what it means to be a man, black, and Southern in America.

Me: With Black Boy, Richard Wright just absolutely took the title of my favorite writer about anything related to race. Incredible.

Richard Wright's nonfiction reads exactly like his fiction. The same intelligent yet beautiful prose- he commands words so perfectly, and understands just how much is necessary to paint a good picture and to get his point across. It is pretty astonishing that I enjoyed this book as much as I did, because there is no plot line at all. It truly is about the development of Richard Wright's character.

Part of that involves his racial identity. No one can talk about race like Richard Wright can. He's a genius. He talks about the subconscious and psychological impacts of oppression so well- the realization of any minority in this country that their race sets them apart, and the early lesson that you must be more careful and work harder to succeed, affects them in the most profound way. It makes them fear. And this fear impacts every single action in their life; it requires them to be hyper-conscious of a world that seems inherently against them. 

Complex, yes, but his writing makes it so clear. Wright puts words to my inner jumbled thoughts. 

A large part of this book is also about the development of Wright as a writer. His story is quite amazing- he grew up in a very difficult situation in a place and time where reading books, especially being a black man, was looked down upon. He had a limited education and yet still believed in words just like I, and other readers, do now. 

The ending can feel a little strange, and like I said before, the absence of a consistent story line can make the story seem aimless. But once I began reading, I really enjoyed watching Wright's character grow and learned so much about myself as well. All in all, a wonderful book by a wonderful writer. 
At the age of twelve I had an attitude toward life that was to endure, that was to make me seek those areas of living that would keep it alive, that was to make me skeptical of everything while seeking everything, tolerant of all and yet critical.

It made me love talk that sought answers to questions that could help nobody, that could only keep alive in me that enthralling sense of wonder and awe in the face of the drama of human feeling which is hidden by the external drama of life.

I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of the hunger for life that gnaws in us all.

Rating: 5 kisses!

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