I must start with a confession: 2020 is a year that almost killed my love for reading.
I’ve had my nose in a book for the best part of 25 years and it was this one, the longest in living memory, that almost took this simple joy from me.
Usually Leah and I split the task of the monthly review for The Sistem, to keep it fresh. She goes then I go then she goes then I go and so forth (pretty much). It’s only fair, we both love books and have a lot to say. But there has been something about this year, 2020 that has stopped me right in my page-turning-tracks.
That feeling that people speak about when they just cant keep their mind on the story, the distraction and calling of the mobile phone when you are half way down a page and the dread when you realise it has been weeks since you last picked up the title you vowed you would “finish this week” got me hard.
I began to think of reading as something I ‘should do more of’ as opposed to not thinking of it at all (because I was always doing it)
The last few reviews that I have done have been tough. Not that my ratings haven’t been accurate, believe me they have. I have enjoyed each book as much as I said I have, its just that I. Yinka, have been slacking when it comes to reading. It became a bit of a chore for me, something that I had to do for my column rather than the thing I was naturally drawn towards.
Like I said this year 2020 has stopped me. That was until I picked up this book by Candice Brathwaite.
When I rocked up to Foyles (one of my rare trips to a book shop this year) I had no idea I was picking up a book that would actually reignite my love for reading. Not to be dramatic but this book has show me why I bother to dedicate hours to a world that will never be mine.
Candice has delivered a memoir of sorts, told from a place of unwavering honesty and with a heart breaking precision that leaves you shook to your core. I didn’t expect it fall into it the way I did, especially because it is non-fiction. But her words weave a picture that puts you right in the shoes of a young, first time mother who is more at risk simply because of the colour of her skin. It isn’t just a book about pregnancy, its risks and the prejudices faced by young Black women who dare to a) have sex and b) embrace the pregnant consequences of doing so. It is a tale of loss of love, grief and becoming.
I know this isn’t your typical type of review, even for me. I know I haven’t given you summary, plot and theme assessments but I really don’t need to. I merely implore you to read this book and you will love it as much as I did and always will. I don’t know if Candice Brathwaite knew what she was doing when she wrote this book, but she did THAT.
5 worms is the only worthy score for such a feat.