Poignant, relevant, true.
These were the first three words that came to mind, even as I was reading Black Lives, American Love by D.B. Maroon. This collection of essays centers Blackness in America and offers historical evidence as to why Black Americans are kept in the horrible state of being treated as less than citizens in their own country. Maroon, a social scientist, also offers illustrations from her own life so that the reader understands she isn't just writing about it, she has a firsthand account.
After the first two chapters, I was crying. Not because it was sad necessarily, but because I felt seen. There is a comaraderie that any Black American reading this book will undeniably feel. And that sense of kinship, of understanding the hardships we face simply because of skin color...it made the collection hit home in ways that I don't think someone of a different race could understand fully.
Honestly, there isn't much about this book that I didn't like. I received a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review so there were a few formatting things, that will undoubtedly be corrected before it's publication. Also, it didn't include a bibliography although footnotes were present whenever the author cited something. This, again, is most likely due to it not being the final product.
One thing I will say is that this book is weighty. And that may mean, if you choose to read it, that you pick up something more lighthearted or with less stakes to read concurrently. After all, we are talking the lives, deaths and mutilations of real people, past and present. And, as Maroon alludes to, if things don't change, future.
Are you a nonfiction person? If so, I recommend you pick this up. In fact, I recommend that everyone read this book, if only to understand a historicized viewpoint and line it up with what is happening in U.S. society right now.