This book was received for free in exchange for a free honest review.
What book is that? Pulling the Chariot of the Sun: A Memoir of A Kidnapping by Shane McCrae.
Pulling the Chariot of the Sun is McCrae's narrative on how he, a mixed man, came to learn of his heritage, and the truth that his father never abandoned him before his birth, but that his caretakers, his maternal grandparents stole him away when he was three. Why? Well, because his father was Black. And that was just uncalled for in their minds. And McCrae's mother allowed it because she didn't really wasn't ready to be a parent.
McCrae's childhood is filled with lies and physical abuse and now he can not remember much of his childhood or the beatings he suffered at the hands of his grandfather, who was not actually his grandfather. The reader gets to see him moving from state to state, school to school, often as the only Black person there, often the only one who doesn't fit in.
Have you ever wanted to like something but couldn't? Maybe you want to like it because it is popular or because it is for a good cause or has a deeper purpose, this memoir is like that for me. I wanted to like this novel because I want to stand in support of a man who experienced such a huge trauma and who is dealing with that trauma and trying to unpack it. I want to like this book because I too, have memories that have been erased or rewritten in an attempt to undo past pain. Yet I just can't seem to get there.
I think that it is mainly due to McCrae's narrative style. It gave me a headache. And while I understand that skateboarding was a major part of his formative years, having so much jargon included pulled me out of the narrative. I had no idea what was going on at some points. The author also repeats himself incessantly and so there are times when I worry I have misread and go back and reread only to find out nope, the phrase is repeated four times in this sentence or three times in this paragraph or yes, this entire 70 page section is an aside and we are no back onto the topic we were in part 2. While I understand that memory is wonky, it made it hard for me to read.
Take all of that together and I just could not get into it as much as I desperately wanted to, although there were instances I absolutely adored. It was kind of strange. McCrae was able to draw me in and a lot of the final 30 pages or so were quite good but much of the rest dragged. True, this ARE is uncorrected and the final product that comes out next month may be quite different from the one I am reviewing, but I doubt that the author made such substantial changes.
What are you reading?