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Men We Reaped (2013)

de Jesmyn Ward

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1,0594818,948 (4.25)132
Biography & Autobiography. Sociology. African American Nonfiction. Nonfiction. HTML:Named one of the Best Books of the Century by New York Magazine

Two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward (Salvage the Bones, Sing, Unburied, Sing) contends with the deaths of five young men dear to her, and the risk of being a black man in the rural South.

"We saw the lightning and that was the guns; and then we heard the thunder and that was the big guns; and then we heard the rain falling and that was the blood falling; and when we came to get in the crops, it was dead men that we reaped." -Harriet Tubman
In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life-to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses, one after another, made Jesmyn ask the question: Why? And as she began to write about the experience of living through all the dying, she realized the truth-and it took her breath away. Her brother and her friends all died because of who they were and where they were from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships. Jesmyn says the answer was so obvious she felt stupid for not seeing it. But it nagged at her until she knew she had to write about her community, to write their stories and her own.
Jesmyn grew up in poverty in rural Mississippi. She writes powerfully about the pressures this brings, on the men who can do no right and the women who stand in for family in a society where the men are often absent. She bravely tells her story, revisiting the agonizing losses of her only brother and her friends. As the sole member of her family to leave home and pursue higher education, she writes about this parallel American universe with the objectivity distance provides and the intimacy of utter familiarity. A brutal world rendered beautifully, Jesmyn Ward's memoir will sit comfortably alongside Edwidge Danticat's Brother, I'm Dying, Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life, and Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings..
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Es mostren 1-5 de 46 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Jesmyn Ward just amazes me. Her language is exquisite, and I think I could read anything she might write on any subject whatsoever. This memoir is powerful, disturbing and extremely important. And beyond that I just don't know what to say about it. Her world, which she loves despite its brutality, is so foreign to me, and yet she has somehow made it possible in a way no other author has matched for me to grasp a bit of how growing up in that world shapes your understanding of life and your place in it, and how unbelievably hard it is to see across the dividing lines, from either side, let alone to move from one world to the other. The primary focus of the book is the lives and untimely deaths of five young men who were close to the author, beginning with her brother. Ward tells their stories backward, starting with the most recent death and ending with the most important, that of her younger brother Joshua, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2000. Interspersed with the sections on each lost life are chapters about Jesmyn's growing up in a working class Black family in Mississippi, where generations of women found themselves struggling to raise children with absent fathers, and generations of men strove to fill the role of protector and provider, with all the cards stacked against them. I feel better informed after reading this book, but I also feel at a loss to know what to do with this information.
2017 ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Dec 20, 2023 |
Loved this memoir. Heartbreaking, moving and beautiful. I connected with the grief and loss in various ways and cried a few times toward the end. Brilliant structure and pacing. Novel descriptions. Must have taken a lot of courage to write, and I’m grateful as a reader that she did. ( )
  jenwelsh | Nov 18, 2022 |
(4.5)
You know Men We Reaped has deeply impacted you when reading the grief Ward shares over her brother gives you the urge to reach out to your own estranged brothers. A profoundly saddening book, but it was a true honor learning about these men and their stories. Just like Ward, I will always be haunted by them for better or worse. ( )
  DominiqueDavis | Aug 9, 2022 |
audio nonfiction/memoir - growing up Black and poor in Mississippi and dealing with multiple, separate deaths of male relatives and friends (TW: sexual assault, suicide and suicidal ideation, drug overdose, gun violence and other traumas) with some revealing statistics at the end. ( )
  reader1009 | Mar 12, 2022 |
As an ally, I feel like it is my duty to listen to the stories of people of color; I can never truly appreciate the effects of the systemic biases against them. Works like this help us all understand what growing up poor and Black in Mississippi, the poorest state in the poorest region of our country, where one out of every twelve Black men is in prison, does to one's psyche. This is a book about the direct link between a system that has failed its citizens and the despair that failed system creates. ( )
  nbornstein | Mar 5, 2022 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Ward, Jesmynautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Boothe, CheriseNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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“We saw the lightning and that was the guns; and then we heard the thunder and that was the big guns; and then we heard the rain falling and that was the blood falling; and when we came to get in the crops, it was dead men that we reaped.” —Harriet Tubman

Young adolescents in our prime live a life of crime, though it ain't logical, we hobble through these trying times. Living blind: Lord, help me with my troubled soul. Why all my homies had to die before they got to grow? -from "Words 2 My Firstborn," Tupac Shakur

I stand on the stump of a child, whether myself or my little brother who died, and yell as far as I can, I cannot leave this place, for for me it is the dearest and the worst, it is life nearest to life which is life lost: it is my place where I must stand.... -from "Easter Morning," A.R. Ammons
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Whenever my mother drove us from coastal Mississippi to New Orleans to visit my father on the weekend, she would say, "Lock the doors."
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Cap

Biography & Autobiography. Sociology. African American Nonfiction. Nonfiction. HTML:Named one of the Best Books of the Century by New York Magazine

Two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward (Salvage the Bones, Sing, Unburied, Sing) contends with the deaths of five young men dear to her, and the risk of being a black man in the rural South.

"We saw the lightning and that was the guns; and then we heard the thunder and that was the big guns; and then we heard the rain falling and that was the blood falling; and when we came to get in the crops, it was dead men that we reaped." -Harriet Tubman
In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life-to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses, one after another, made Jesmyn ask the question: Why? And as she began to write about the experience of living through all the dying, she realized the truth-and it took her breath away. Her brother and her friends all died because of who they were and where they were from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships. Jesmyn says the answer was so obvious she felt stupid for not seeing it. But it nagged at her until she knew she had to write about her community, to write their stories and her own.
Jesmyn grew up in poverty in rural Mississippi. She writes powerfully about the pressures this brings, on the men who can do no right and the women who stand in for family in a society where the men are often absent. She bravely tells her story, revisiting the agonizing losses of her only brother and her friends. As the sole member of her family to leave home and pursue higher education, she writes about this parallel American universe with the objectivity distance provides and the intimacy of utter familiarity. A brutal world rendered beautifully, Jesmyn Ward's memoir will sit comfortably alongside Edwidge Danticat's Brother, I'm Dying, Tobias Wolff's This Boy's Life, and Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings..

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