Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

4 Stars
Jesmyn Ward’s memoir is a journey through the Kübler-Ross model of the five stages of grief. As Ward states about the young men she memorializes in this novel, she finds “the adage about time healing all wounds to be false: grief doesn’t fade. Grief scabs over like my scars and pulls into new, painful configurations as it knits. It hurts in new ways. We are never free from grief. We are never free from the feeling that we have failed. We are never free from self-loathing. We are never free form the feeling that something is wrong with us, not with the world that made this mess.”

Ward’s story reads like a penance. Her life has been filled with heartbreaking loss that is beyond measure and she has struggled with the “Why???” of the matter. Why did she lose five people she loved in five years? Why were they stuck in a cycle of poverty and drugs? Why could they not break free and live? When I turn on the news each morning to hear stories of the failing inner-city school district or overnight shootings, I ask myself the same questions. We all should. And then we should try harder to find the answers.

We got to keep it real, and what reality and reality will keep it real with us
I remember them good ol days
Because see, that's the child I was
What made me the man I am today
See cause if you forget where you come from, heheh
You're never gonna make it where you're goin, aheh
Because you lost the reality of yourself
So take one stroll through your mind
And see what you will find
And you'll see a whole universe all over again
and again and again and again and again

©Ghostface Killah – “All That I Got Is You”

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