Smith’s memoir starts with him trying to answer the question of how he defines himself as a black man in America. He finds his college years at Hampton University during Obama’s first race to the presidency help him answer this question. These years of his life causes him to evaluate respectability politics, homophobia, sexism, transphobia, and the taboo of mental health in the black community that have caused him to redefine what masculinity means to him. His memoir doesn’t only ask questions of himself, but will also leave the reader asking questions of how they define their identity as well.
This modest book with a super long title packs a massive punch. Mychal Smith doesn't hold back in his assessment of modern America and it's racial interactions. He takes us along as he looks back at how events in his own life formed his views, shows us his heroes, explains his ideas and offers suggestions. You very well may have to grapple with your own perspective, but I guarantee you won't regret having done so.
A prime example of how a book doesn't have to be massive to be insightful. In less than 150 pages, Sebastian Junger lays out his thoughts on how an interconnected society is a healthier society. Stories from the past are woven together with statistics from today to make a powerful argument that despite being relatively wealthy and physically healthy, our very disconnected, self reliant society is driving up cases of depression and creating a trap of general unhappiness. Well worth the read!