Tag Archives: Memoir

📚 The journey of self discovery. 📚

📚 Black Lotus: A Woman’s Search for Racial Identity by Sil Lai Abrams 📚
TITLE: Black Lotus: A Woman’s Search for Racial Identity
AUTHOR: Sil Lai Abrams
PUBLISHER: Gallery Books/Karen Hunter Publishing
SERIES: NO 
RATING: ☕️☕️☕️☕️ Intriguing memoir 

“Like a slow, steady bass line, Sil Lai viscerally draws you into her aching journey to find her place in the world.”

—NILE RODGERS, Grammy award–winning composer, producer, cofounding member of CHIC, and author of Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny


https://s3.amazonaws.com/netgalley-covers/cover86534-small.pngFrom her humble beginnings in a white, lower-middle-class family to a career in modeling that propelled her into the upper echelons of New York City nightlife, Sil Lai Abrams shares her unique and exquisitely wrought account of a woman’s journey toward self-love and acceptance in a family that sought to deny her black heritage.

Author and activist Sil Lai Abrams was born to a Chinese immigrant mother and a white American father. At the age of five, her family was ripped apart by a divorce that would erase her mother from her life. In the wake of her absence, Abrams was left alone to grieve her mother’s disappearance and reconcile the growing realization that there was truly something different about her from the rest of her family members.

She was the only one in her family with a tousle of wild curls and brown skin. As a convenient lie, based in part on the desire to raise his children in a race-neutral household, her father would explain that her skin was darker than the rest of the family because she was born in Hawaii. At the age of fourteen, the man she thought was her birth father made the bombshell revelation that Abrams was not his biological child: that, in fact, she was the daughter of a man of African descent who didn’t know of her existence.

This shocking news would take her down a painful road to forge an authentic ethnic identity in spite of the overt bigotry in her community and her own internalized racism and self-hatred. A teenage runaway and high school dropout, Abrams would struggle with single parenthood, depression, abuse, and an alcohol addiction that nearly destroyed her. Eventually, she would begin a path to healing that helped her leave behind the shame over her birthright and move toward a celebration of her blackness.

In Black Lotus, Abrams invites readers along on her unpredictable odyssey filled with extreme highs and lows as she reassembles her psyche by sifting through the broken fragments of her family’s past. Her story will provoke readers to reexamine everything they think they know about racial identity while affirming the ability of the human spirit to triumph over tragedy. Black Lotus shines a light on the transformative power of self-actualization, personal accountability, and the importance of living authentically and unapologetically in spite of family or societal opposition.


REVIEW: 

 I was sent this book for an honest review.

I’m not very big on memoir’s of people I’ve never heard of, but Sil Lai Abrams, tells a story that touches the heart and pulls at the heartstrings.  There are moments you want to reach out and give the child and hug and high five the woman she grew into regardless of the circumstances.  Abrams journey through racial discovery, an absentee mother, and emotionless father makes the book less about the racial side of things and more about her traumatic childhood. Yet even with everything she endured, she became a woman unapologetic about whom she is and her life.
If you are a fan of memoirs I’d recommend it as a good read.
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🔬 The cells that have lived longer than the woman! Say her name, Henrietta Lacks. 🏥

📚 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks 📚

TITLE: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
AUTHOR: Rebecca Skoot
PUBLISHER: Broadway Books
SERIES: No 
RATING: ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️ Captivating, Fascinating and Completely Engrossing

BUY THE BOOK: http://amzn.to/2aEp9MP

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Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.


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First let me start by saying, I’ve seen this book many times, and not being one for biographies and memoirs too much, I passed it by.  That is until I started seeing it again.  I read the synopsis and was intrigued so much I went and purchased a copy on Amazon.  Nothing prepared me for what was between the pages of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

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A black woman in the 1950’s goes to John Hopkins hospital, which at that time was only hospital in the area to service coloreds.  Feeling a knot in her stomach Henrietta Lacks didn’t know what to expect, she just knew she wanted to have more children.  The series of events that take place after that first visit to John’s Hopkin’s changed not only the life of Henrietta Lacks, the Lacks children and family but also it changed the world.

In 1988, in a biology class, Rebecca Skoot first learns the name, Henrietta Lacks.  That name would be the catalyst to change the life of Rebecca Skoot and forever bind her to the lives of the descendants of the woman scientist only call HeLa.

For more than a decade, the author along with the daughter of Henrietta Lacks, Deborah set off on a journey to learn the truth.  The truth in this instance is what really happened to Henrietta Lacks and how her cells came to live forever.

Although this book is scientific in nature the average layman can read it and come to an understanding of the circumstances, life and socioeconomic culture of the time.  This author has done an amazing job of bringing to light the events that occurred to render HeLa cells a multimillion dollar industry.

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There are so many things to discuss concerning this book.  This book should be a must-read for all.

✊ Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. 🌍

📚 Between the world and Me 📚

TITLE:  Between the World and Me 
AUTHOR: Ta-Nehisi Coates
PUBLISHER:   Spiegel & Grau
SERIES: NO
RATING: ☕️☕️☕️☕️☕️ Empowering
BUY THE BOOK:  Between the world and Me

 

“This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”

511ktu-MsbL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.


 

REVIEW: 

Between the World and Me takes the form of an open letter from Coates to his son, Samori, and expresses of the perils of living BLACK in a country where unarmed black men and boys:  Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Eric Garner are dying at the hands of police officers, an America where nine innocent black worshipers were shot and killed in a Charleston, S.C., church by a young white man with ostensible links to white supremacist and hate groups online.

The issue of race and institutionalized racism is the most important issue we as a country face right now. Take a look at how some presidential candidates are behaving.  The actions of the past two years have shined the spotlight on issues that many of us were only dimly aware of.

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Coates showcases his strength as a novelist displaying his both lyrical and gritty prose and presents readers an emotional, realistic portrait of what it’s like to grow up and live as a black man in America. This book has genuine potential to challenge people’s beliefs and societal norms in a way that will change the conversation. Coates is bridging the gap left by the late James Baldwin and empowering intelligent philosophy in today’s youth.  This book is highly recommended.

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