Monday, August 8, 2011

#BookReview: You Are Free - Danzy Senna

From the acclaimed author of Caucasia comes a collection of short stories exploring identity based mostly on race, but also class and gender.  Told entirely from the point of view of women, the eight stories are okay, but nothing about them really stood out for me with the exception of the short, Admission.

Admission is a short about an upwardly mobile black couple that applies to an exclusive school for their pre-schooler as part of the mother's research for a film on which she's working.  When their son is accepted, Cassie dreams of enrolling him, believing that it will open doors for him later in life.  Her husband, Duncan, is firmly against it.  Each has their own reason for wanting and/or not wanting Cody to attend.

Beyond Admission, where race truly was a factor, the remaining stories could have been based on women of any race.  And maybe that was the message that Senna was trying to get across.  Though the women in her book may have been separated by class, though not by much, their stories carried universal themes.  We are much more alike than we are different.

What did you like about this book?
It was a very quick read.

What didn't you like about this book?
Everyone I know that has read this has talked about how great it was.  I thought it was just okay.  It was well written, but not necessarily memorable.

What could the author do to improve this book?
Remove the short story The Land of Beulah and extend Admission.

Published May 2011 

Theme: Everyday People by Sly & the Family Stone

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