Black Is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother’s Time, My Mother’s Time, and Mine

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Emily Bernard’s debut essay collection is truly exceptional. Black is the Body includes a dozen memoir-like essays that cover a wide range of subjects relating to the blackness of her body. “Scar Tissue” offers a riveting recount of how she was randomly stabbed in a coffee shop. “Teaching the N-Word” reveals the conversations she had with her white students about the strange power of racial epithets. “Interstates” provides a fascinating observation of racial differences and similarities in her mixed-race family. “Mother on Earth” and “Motherland” shares the story of her twin daughters’ adoption story, and “Skin” explains the ways in which her young daughters have come to realize racial differences and how she strives to teach them without weighing them down with her own fears. And “Black is the Body” contemplates what it means to be black.

Bernard writes each essay with with wisdom, compassion, and vulnerability. Although she is writing from her own personal life, Bernard seems to capture the universal experiences of black womanhood in visceral detail. There is not a single weak essay in this collection, and Bernard’s voice is a necessary contribution to the conversation of race. Beautiful, enlightening, and entertaining, Black is the Body is a must-read for readers of all skin colors.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 240 pages
Publisher Knopf
Publish Date 2019-01-29
ISBN 9780451493026 Buy this Book
Issue May 2019
Category Biographies & Memoirs


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