I've been a fan of Ta-Nehisi Coates via his blog at The Atlantic
since '08, and fully expected to enjoy this memoir just based on the commonalities I'd already found in his writing. More than a memoir, it's a prose poem; a non-linear, unapologetically free verse ode to his formative years.
Five years my junior, Coates' childhood had many parallels and intersections with my own, and for me, this book is to memoir as Willie Perdomo
's Nigger-Reecan Blues
was/is to poetry. In the moments I didn't see myself in these pages, I saw family and friends; I saw the Bronx of the '80s, and my own move to the suburbs. For him, there was the djembe; for me, poetry, the difference being it came much later in life for me. On the question of fathers, and what makes a good one, I'd side with what he seemingly realizes in the end, that being flawed and present is better than being absent.
Such a powerful read. Highly recommended!