Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Review: For Black Girls Like Me

For Black Girls Like Me For Black Girls Like Me by Mariama J. Lockington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another flashback, to a book I read a few years back.

This is a heartbreaker.

Keda is eleven. She is moving cross country with her family, starting in a new place, New Mexico, because of her father's job. Keda is African American, the only one in her family, adopted as an infant.
Keda's mother was a musician; she still is, except her father's job took priority in the family and her mother plays less and less.

This is a story of a girl moving to a new place, and having to start again with new friends. A school that calls itself diverse, but the diversity does not include her.

Keda loves her parents; she loves her older sister, the miracle baby born to them.

For Black Girls Like Me explores transracial adoption, and the harms that even well-meaning, loving parents can inflict. Some of them I saw and winced; some of them I didn't realize until Keda pointed it out; and some I saw and Keda didn't make a big deal about because it is her life and she cannot make a big deal out of everything.

It is also Keda moving to a new place and the difficulty of making new friends and finding a place and a voice.

It is also about a mother who is sick and people don't know it. As an adult reader, I quickly picked up on the fact that her mother was exhibiting the highs and lows, the manic actions, of someone with bipolar disorder. Keda, her sister, and her father don't see it; and I imagine that most readers won't. They will discover it as Keda does. And this captures beautifully the heartbreak of being the child when a family member is sick, and feeling responsible, and feeling resentful.

All in all, a wonderful book about many things, and it works beautifully, and I am hopeful for Keda and think that readers will love her as much as I do.

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