A gorgeous, moving memoir of how one of America's most innovative and respected journalists found his voice by coming to terms with a painful past.
New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow mines the compelling poetry of the out-of-time African-American Louisiana town where he grew up - a place where slavery's legacy was felt astonishingly close, reverberating in the elders' stories and in the near-constant wash of violence.
Charles's attachment to his mother - a fiercely driven women with five sons, brass knuckles in her glove box, a job plucking poultry at a nearby factory, a soon-to-be-ex husband, and a love of newspapers and learning - cannot protect him from secret abuse at the hands of an older cousin. It's damage that triggers years of anger and searing self-questioning.
Finally, Charles escapes to a nearby state university, where he joins a black fraternity after a passage of brutal hazing, and then enters a world of racial and sexual privilege that feels like everything he's ever needed and wanted, until he's called upon, himself, to become the one perpetuating the shocking abuse.
A powerfully redemptive memoir that both fits the tradition of African-American storytelling from the South, and gives it an indelible new slant.
©2014 Charles M. Blow (P)2014 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
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"Authors should NOT read their books."
No, it might have been had a professional read the book. It's a rare talent and generally authors don't have it. This is an example. It sounded like "pressured speech". Barbara Kingsolver, Simon Winchester, Alexander McCall-Smith and John Le Carre' can do it, but most authors should leave it to the professionals
Definitely YES, if he did not read it.
The pace/cadence. Again, it seemed like "pressured speech. Way too slow and the sentences did not flow appropriately.
I don't think so. It might depend on the cast.
I've listened to over 900 books in the past several years and I've come to appreciate what a talent "performing" a book is.
I am a fan of Charles Blow and rate him among my top three columnists. His memoir was moving, revelatory and told with great candor. And while I was very drawn to his story, I agree with the other reviewers who found his personal narration detracted from, rather than enhanced my enjoyment of the book. The exception was when he assumed the voice of another person. Quality narration of audiobooks is a special talent. That is one area of control that most writers should be persuaded to relinquish. That was certainly the case here. However, the memoir is great. I would recommend it to friends, with the caveat that they read, rather than listen to it. Well done.
"Best books of 2014 -this is on the short list"
Yes, reads like a good nivel, keen isights beautiful wring , funny and prodound
The portrayal of Charles Blows community growing up where everyone called him Charl s baby and then moving to a new neighborhood where he not only was no ones baby but not even noticed
Pistol packing women of his youth , the job fair ith the New york times
Hilarious at times stunning in its ability to make you think about big life issues
This hould bevome one of those books that everyone should read in high school. Like rubyfruit Jungle it tells awarm story of sexual identity Wakening
I would recommend this book for anyone who is seeking to better understand race relations and how childhood experiences influence adult thinking. Charles Blow is an amazing writer, activist, and commentator. Can't get enough of this man's perspective!
"A very good book marred by monotone narration"
With caveats regarding the narration. The story is one of growing up in the Deep South poor and black. It resonated with me -- I spent half my childhood in the South, middle class and white. I remember too well the apartheid of that time.
This is Mr Blow's memoir of growing up in the Deep South. He is my favorite character.
Have a trained actor read the book or have Mr Blow take voice training.
Mr Blow is one of my favorite NYT columnists. I also listen to his audio reports on FaceBook, which are spontaneous, witty, tongue in cheek rants -- I love them.
this book shows how a child can wrestle with many things in his life and still come out on top and be successful.
"Well written and engaging… audio could be better"
I thought this book was very well written. I nice use of descriptive words without being too wordsmith intensive.
Charles who is the writer and narrator has a really nice deep voice but he was unemotional and drone like in his reading. There were some parts however which were very well done and these happened to be when he was voicing someone other than narration. I can see the narrator had real potential that sadly wasn't realized.
I have said this over and over here…the narration makes or breaks the audiobook. This one needed better direction maybe.
"Don't like the book"
Just a personal preference - don't like the tone and vulgarity of this book
"Courage and Grace"
I found this memoir to be very engaging. From the beginning I was caught up in learning more about the young Charles Blow. As unfortunate as his childhood was, in some ways, and as challenging as his life has been, he seems to be a talented, courageous man.
"Great open book on his-story"
The storyline was good insight on the growth of the writer. I just wanted to keep fast forwarding on the pace of the reader. it seem to slow and I wanted to just stop listening. I knew that the story had a purpose.
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