Korri'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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's review
Aug 14, 11

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bookshelves: auto-biography-memoir, family, masculinities, race, africana
Read in August, 2011

I read on an epic six hour bus ride that should've taken three. It was almost a shame that this memoir was in my bag because it is such a fast and fabulous read. I want to look back over it & savor how Coates made his dreamy, head-in-the-clouds prose chock full of pop culture allusions seem effortless.

Masculinity is at the heart of tale. But what it means to be a man is an ever-shifting chimera that young Coates has trouble identifying, let alone grasping. He doesn't want to fight other West Baltimore youth over turf or baseball caps, he doesn't want to study, and he definitely doesn't want to come under the almighty gaze of his father who seizes every opportunity to raise his sons' Consciousness.

In the end readers are left not with a definition of masculinity but with a jumble of impressions about contradictory and conflicting nature of what it means to be an urban black man, a father, a son, and a dreamer.

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