Tag Archives: black authors

The Color of Compromise : A Review

The Color of Compromise by Jemar Tisby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I didn’t always like history. All those dates and lists that I had to memorize. But as I get older, I find history fascinating. How the choices of a few, or the many, affected so much of how our world is today.

Going into this book, I knew the basics of the evolution of the church. From the Catholic church to Martin Luther to King Henry and the church of England. From the Pilgrims to the Restoration Movement. But I didn’t realize how much the church impacted so many social and government decisions throughout history.

This book reads similar to a history book, though with much more narrative. It includes both significant American events as well as the evolution of both white and black churches, racism, and slavery before the Civil War. It touches on that particular war, but continues to name the complicity of both the North and South in the 20s, 30s, and 40s.

Each chapter’s introduction includes a purpose for what it will try to explain in that chapter, and the chapter’s conclusion recalls that purpose and how it was met in the chapter. While this was a little repetitive, it served as an ebb and flow to the narrative. The book ends with a chapter challenging the church and culture to take action in a variety of ways.

The author doesn’t use profanity in the book. Sexual content includes descriptions of rape used in example situations and the sexualization of black people. Violent content includes lynchings and massacres as they happened throughout our history.

I really enjoyed this broad look at our nation’s and church’s history here in America. It was eye-opening to see the connections that were made. But I really liked the fact that the book ends with hope and actionable ideas to challenge the church, to encourage us to a better future for all.

An American Marriage: A Review

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a contemporary fiction that was pretty popular a couple of years ago.  I believe it was an Oprah book club pick.  It is set in the south, mostly between a town called Eloe in Louisiana and Atlanta, Georgia.

The story starts with Roy being convicted of something he didn’t do.  While visiting his parents, he and his newlywedded wife, Celestial, are staying at a motel where an assault happens.  The victim pins the crime on Roy, and he is convicted, sentenced to 12 years in jail.  This conviction knocks Roy off the path he thought he was headed on – the good job, the house, starting a family. 

During this time, Celestial is now the wife of a convict.  She has to navigate the stigmas as well as find some path through the next 12 years.  Their relationship suffers, and she turns to a friend, Andre, to lean on, which develops into something more.

I really didn’t like Andre’s character.  I didn’t agree with a lot of the choices that were made in this book.  They made me feel uncomfortable.  Although, I also don’t know what it’s like to be falsely accused of a crime and have my whole life turned upside down.  And having to make my relationship choices through that lens.

But I don’t know if the relationships were really the focus, but more so being true to who you are.  Celestial, at the beginning, kind of just flows with whatever everyone wants her to be, and this story really follows her transformation.  Roy also transforms through the time he was in jail.  The story was very real and raw.

There is a lot of profanity.  Sexual content includes abortions, descriptions of naked bodies, talk of rape, implications of sex, with one detailed sex scene.  The violent content includes a fight scene, implications of suicides that happen in prison, as well as the assault/rape at the beginning of the book.

Overall, it’s about two people who faced an unjust justice system.  But it was also about people who were growing up, figuring it out, and letting go to find their settled good.  My favorite part of the story was Roy and his mother’s relationship, as well as the relationships of the older generation.  Interesting read.

Still Listening

Due to the climate in our country, I don’t feel like I can do what I normally do on the first Wednesday of the month and talk about what I read last month. I will move that blog post to next week. There are so many really great resources being shared right now that help describe and explain that Black experience in America, white supremacy, and systemic racism. One link that was passed around on Facebook and other social media sites was this list of various articles, books, and documentaries which is a great start.

Last year, I read two of the books that are being suggested (one of which is on the above list). I’ve already shared my thoughts on these books, so I will link those reviews here.

The first is I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown.

The second book I read last year was White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. I didn’t write a review for this book on my blog because I was taking a break at the time. I did, however, write a review on GoodReads which I will link here.

Both of these books are excellent. There are also some really good Black Fiction writers that I would recommend if nonfiction isn’t your genre. Tomi Adeyemi has written two books in her series, the first being Children of Blood and Bone which is based on African mythology. There is also The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and her second book (not a series but set in the same world), On The Come Up. And finally, If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson, which I read with the Life’s Library book club. It’s not her most recent or most famous piece, but it is really good. Her backlist is definitely on my TBR list.

Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy a fresh perspective on the world. Diversity brings creativity and beauty to the written word. It can help us grow in empathy and understanding, prodding us on to action.