Mixed Feelings

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katnortonwriter Avatar


I really struggled with how to rate this book, since I heard quite a lot about it before I finally picked it up.

On one hand, the concept is amazing, both in terms of the book's premise and the way it ties in with the two works that inspired it. There is so much pain and longing in this book, reaching back generations. It's beautiful as a story, and it's beautiful as an allegory for generational trauma and preserving memory.

On the other hand, the repetition in this book drove me wild. It's a novella, so I would expect the writing to be extra tight, but I lost track of the times when the narrator says something akin to, "I wondered if my family was okay where I'd left them. Probably." and/or "Probably not." I think the goal was to remind the reader of the stakes and the passage of time, but it kept knocking me out of the narrative.

That said, I still feel like this book has a lot of value, and it has pushed me toward digging deeper into the 1619 Project. I also love the idea of these interweaving narratives that build on each other to showcase different voices structured around a single topic.