Gladia's Reviews > The Beautiful Struggle

The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates
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Feb 21, 2011

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Read from February 24 to 27, 2011

How not to love Ta-Nehisi Coates? Of course I got to know him through his blog on The Atlantic and that’s kind of hard to stop reading it after you start. Not too dissimilar from a drug. It is really no secret that Coates most attractive characteristic—at least for me—is being this soft, sweet underdog who, despite it all, made it. Take this conversation between father and son:
'I am not raising nothing niggers. Where is your head? What are you thinking, boy?
I am thinking of Sunday waffles and Morning Star. I am grieving for Lynn Min-mei, apatosaurs, Tom Landry, and Cowboy blue. I am staring three desks over and dreaming of Brenda Neil, dancing in a pink and white gown.'

Coates has a voice. That’s all that matters, no need for a story. I would read him regardless of what he’s talking about. I guess that took over almost too much in this case. I really should have gone around Baltimore a bit more when I had the chance. I found myself a few times lost. For someone who grew up in Europe in the late 80s, some of the things Coates talks about are just plain unknown. But that doesn’t matter because someone who describes himself in the following way you can just love.
'My cheeks were fat. I talked a lot, laughed in such a way that I gave the hardest kids around me permission to laugh.'

Reading this memoir was refreshing. Coates made me feel like it’s ok to be human more than most of other authors I’ve read so far.
'I was still a dreamer, if now repressed, was still cupcakes and comic books at the core.'
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