| (3 Jan)|
|This story is a quick trip through Bayonne Louisiana, a fictional town loosely based on Pointe Coupee Parish, with all the intergenerational, interracial, and economic troubles found in many parts of the country. We follow the life of Brady Sims, told beautifully through those that knew him best.|
The points shared are tragic and compelling, but so are the points left out, the empty spaces where generations once were, the fleeing of a blighted land for the hopes of California.
Reading this book was as much like looking at a foreign land as it was looking in the mirror. I’ve never lived long in a place where Jim Crow laws shaped a worldview, but I can see how I tacitly create hardship for many as I ignore them in my busy life. This story is as much about those that have been overlooked as it is about the prices we pay to face up to these realities.
While still processing this story, I found Tobias Wolff's The Heart of Whiteness to guide me with my discomfort. It is difficult to tell the truth about our own lives, especially when it involves things we didn’t create like race. Gaines had the insight and courage to show me these things and Wolff encouraged me to keep looking.
In a world where we define each other by skin color, party affiliation, or class, it is refreshing to look beyond these things and see one another as human. This was my first work from Gaines, recommended by my local bookstore. I'll read more from him.