Guy Gonzalez's Reviews > The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood

The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates
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Mar 14, 11

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Read from March 13 to 14, 2011

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!
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Reading Progress

03/13/2011 page 103
40.0% "Been a fan of Coates via his blog at The Atlantic since '08, and finally pulled his memoir of the TBR pile. Loving it."
03/13/2011 page 151
59.0% "I'm fascinated by the parallels, intersections and forks between my and Coates' childhood. This is to memoir as Perdomo is to poetry."

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