The Weight of Blood Book Review

Bullying is, unfortunately, part of the school experience. Though it may seem normal, the after-effects can linger long after we have grown up.

The new novel, The Weight of Blood, by Tiffany D. Jackson, was published at the beginning of the month. Essentially, it is a modern reboot of Carrie with the added weight of racism.

Madison “Maddy” Washington has been a social outcast for as long as anyone can remember. Raised by her fanatical Caucasian father in a small Georgia town, no one knows that she is biracial. That is until a storm reveals the truth and Maddy becomes an ever bigger target for the popular girls/school bullies.

When a video of this incident is leaked out, the administration has some serious explaining to do. The leaders of the student body (one of whom is Maddy’s tormentors) devise a plan to hold an integrated prom for the first time in the town’s history. Feeling guilty for everything that has happened, Wendy, the class President, knows that something has to be done. She asks her African American quarterback boyfriend to ask Maddy to the prom.

For the first time in her life, Maddy starts to believe that she will be like any other teenager. She does not know that her peers have one more trick up their sleeves. But they don’t know that she has a secret of her own, which could be deadly if and/or when it is unleased.

I loved this book. Jackson does an amazing job of being true to the original text while taking the narrative to another level. In adding racism to the already heightened story of a girl who is teased and humiliated by her classmates, she speaks of the short-term and long-term damage that both create.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely. In fact, I would say it is in the top ten new books of 2022.

The Weight of Blood is available wherever books are sold.

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Can We All Be Feminists?: New Writing from Brit Bennett, Nicole Dennis-Benn, and 15 Others on Intersectionality, Identity, and the Way Forward for Feminism Book Review

Every social movement, for all of the good things it creates, has its own flaws. It is through these imperfections that allow both the movement as a whole and the organizations that make it up to improve upon its ideals.

Since its inception in the late 19th century, the feminist movement has opened the door and broken down barriers that in the past, kept women in virtual slavery. The long-running issue that exists is that the image of a feminist is of a middle or upper-middle-class Caucasian woman. Women of color, disabled women, immigrant women, etc, are often marginalized. Can We All Be Feminists?: New Writing from Brit Bennett, Nicole Dennis-Benn, and 15 Others on Intersectionality, Identity, and the Way Forward for Feminism was published in 2018. Edited by June Eric-Udorie with essays by writers such as Britt Bennett and Nicole Dennis-Benn, the book explores the different facets of feminism that are still not given their due.

I really enjoyed this book. Every woman (and everyone else by extension) who believes in the feminist principles should read it at least once. It is a reminder that for all of the good the movement has done, there is still internal rejigging that needs to be done in order to have our words match our deeds.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The Super Bowl Halftime Show Was Amazing, But it Cannot Hide the NFL’s Racism Problem

Like many people, I watched last week’s Super Bowl for the Halftime Show. I’m not a fan of either team and to be perfectly frank, I don’t understand football.

From a personal perspective, I loved it. The artists who performed are ones that I grew up with. It was a lovely throwback to what I remember to be a simpler time. My only complaint is that Mary J. Blige was the only female headliner. But other than that, I was thoroughly entertained.

Charlie Kirk, however, was not entertained. He referred to the show “sexual anarchy”. He has yet to see his 30th birthday. I would have anticipated this kind of opinion coming from someone much older, not from a guy who only graduated from college a few years ago. But I expect nothing less from people who think like him.

As excellent as the performance was, it cannot hide the accusation of racism that exists within the NFL. The lawsuit against the league by Brian Flores, claiming sham interviews for several coaching positions based on skin color, speaks volumes. When most if not all of the workforce are people of color and upper management, are either close to or 100% Caucasian, that speaks volumes.

Games like the Super Bowl are supposed to bring us together. It is one of the few uniting forces in our otherwise divided nation. I just wish that the cracks were not revealed along the way.

Once We Were Slaves: The Extraordinary Journey of a Multi-Racial Jewish Family Book Review

The Passover story and the Exodus of the Hebrews from slavery to freedom is a potent one. In one way or another, we can all relate to the idea of breaking free from whatever is holding us back.

Laura Arnold Leibman‘s new book, Once We Were Slaves: The Extraordinary Journey of a Multi-Racial Jewish Family was published back in August. The book traces the ancestry of Blanche Moses. Moses, whose Jewish-American ancestry goes back to the Revolutionary War, tells the story of her biracial ancestors. Both Jewish (mostly Sephardic with a handful of Ashkenazi) and black, her ancestors had to navigate a world in which they could be doubly ostracized while passing as Caucasian. Living in such different places as New York City, London, and the West Indies, it was akin to a game of chess, in which every move must be calculated before proceeding.

I wanted to like this book. The subject is one that is certainly of interest to me. The problem is that it is slow to read and void of the excitement that I should have had while answering the question that the book asks. While I appreciated this deep dive into a part of Jewish history that is not always in the spotlight, the promises laid out by the author are not met.

Do I recommend it? Not really.

Home Sweet Home Review

The best way to learn about someone who is different from us is to spend a day in their shoes. Though the outcome is not 100% guaranteed, the hope is that we see that person behind the stereotypes and the labels.

NBC‘s new reality show, Home Sweet Home premiered last Friday. Created by writer/producer Ava Duvernay, it is a sort of gentler version of Wife Swap. Each episode follows two families who switch lives and homes for four days. While in the other’s house, they live as that family does and meet their loved ones. At the the end of that period, they meet for a meal and get to know those who they have temporarily shared their lives with.

The participants in the first episode are a heteronormative Caucasian Greek Orthodox couple and an African-American LGBTQ couple.

Though the show could border on schmaltzy or the typical overly dramatic reality television formula, it doesn’t. It has a nice balance of tension and the predictable narrative that the audience has come to expect for the genre. What I found appealing was that it spoke to the humanity in all of us. The connection between the two families was the thing that drew me in. Despite their differences, they not only got along, but they became friends. The hook that will keep me watching was a statement by the father. He realized that it is possible to raise children that are happy and successful without forcing the traditional cis gender two parent structure down our throats.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Home Sweet Home airs on NBC on Friday night at 8PM.

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