*** 🎧 Punch Me Up To the Gods by Brian Broome
I listened to this one on audio (thank you, Libro.fm!), and it was one of the heavier memoirs I’ve read this year. Broome talks about growing up poor, Black, and gay in Ohio. Told through essays, I also loved how Broome incorporated stories from his past with a present-day bus ride where he sees a young Black boy learning the social mores from his father and other passengers on the bus. Subtleties throughout the ride across town spur memories from his childhood and he uses those moments to deeply reflect on a hard and painful childhood. It is extremely powerful and I really enjoyed listening to Broome narrarate his own story. He is a talented writer and I would really love to see how he handles more light-hearted material.
The Boys’ Club by Erica Katz
After graduating from Harvard Law School, Alex lands a job at one of the most prestigious law firms in the country. Through the lens of her first year at Klasko and Fitch, we are introduced into the hardcore, relentless world of top-tiered lawyers. It was a wild ride and one I was totally here for!
What worked so well with this one was the total immersion into this world that I know nothing about. The all-nighters, the drinking, the wineing and dineing of high-powered clients, and the drugs…its all here and it’s intense! Not only does Alex engage in this wild behavior, but it also made me think about how I would react in the same situation. First of all, the amount of energy needed to be engaged in the world of law far exceeds what I have to give; I was tired just reading the book! Secondly, I felt for Alex because she was a girl that came from a modest background and was suddenly thrown into a world of power, prestige, and money. That would be difficult to navigate and I worried about how she would fare in the end. Lastly, Katz really addressed the hurdles women must overcome when they find themselves immersed in a man’s world. Suddenly she doesn’t know who her “friends” are or who she can trust and she must combat the constant speculation that she’s sleeping her way to the top while staying on top of her A-game to earn a covetted spot at the end of her first year.
I really enjoyed this book and was finally pushed to pick it up after seeing it on Sarah’s Book Shelves Summer Reading Guide!
The Yellow House by Sarah M. Broom
After hearing that this memoir talks about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, I was really interested to read it. I have a dear friend who was also in New Orleans during the Hurricane. She worked at a local news company and the stories she has from that time period sound more like horror stories than real-life events. The amount of mistakes that happened during the storm are bad enough; what’s even worse is hearing about the ways the city fails poor communities even before tragedy strikes.
After reading this account, Broom only reemphasizes that what happened in New Orleans in 2005 has been happening since the beginning of time (and continues to happen today): the poor communities in our country are largely ignored and sacrificed for the richer, whiter populations. The question I’m left wondering is: now that we’ve been shown this time and time again, when is enough enough? When will these communities of people going to be prioritized and treated with even the smallest amount of decency and respect? It’s beyond time we recognize our mishandlings of these situations and work to correct them.
Look How Happy I’m Making You by Polly Rosenwaike
I am not a short story type of person, but this collection really blew me away. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much at a different stage of life, but as an early-40s, mother to two teenagers, I was able to really dive into these stories. They felt progressive in a sense – starting with a woman struggling with infertility, to a woman pregnant, to a woman who didn’t want kids at all. It really encapsulated the whole experience of motherhood, from one end of the spectrum to the other. While this could be triggering to some audiences (infertility, miscarriages, mother loss, etc), I found it to be a very relatable, honest, and fresh take on the journey of motherhood as a whole.
(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)