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Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now

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3.21  ·  Rating details ·  290 ratings  ·  33 reviews
With luminous insight and fervent prose, Andre Perry’s debut collection of personal essays, Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now, travels from Washington DC to Iowa City to Hong Kong in search of both individual and national identity. While displaying tenderness and a disarming honesty, Perry catalogs racial degradations committed on the campuses of elite universities and libera ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published November 12th 2019 by Two Dollar Radio
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Thomas
Dec 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Love the honesty and unresolved questions in this essay collection. In Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now, Andre Perry tackles race, music, love, art, sexuality, and so much more as a black writer living in Iowa City. I most appreciated the unflinching vulnerability in this collection. Perry writes about his experiences of people exotifying/fetishizing him as a black man, how elite spaces, institutions, and people who tout their progressive values often perpetuated microaggressions and overt racism ...more
Paris (parisperusing)
“When I looked into the ex-soldier’s eyes all I saw were the remnants of a detonation. We bought more drinks for each other and we touched hands to arms, as close and sentimental as we could get with him being a soldier and me being an unknown. … He seemed to vacillate between the perverse desire to control everything and the nihilistic resignation to control nothing at all. I hadn’t been to war but in his eyes I could glean a flickering shadow of my own reflection.”

No book this year has rendere
...more
Darryl Suite
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I liked this essay collection but didn't love it as a whole. There were a couple of essays that I felt didn't go anywhere or didn't go deep enough (ie: Installations -- this particular essay lacked focus imo). With that said, there are three essays that knocked my socks off: American Gray Space, No Country, and Americana/Dying of Thirst. They were powerful, thought-provoking + the highlights of this collection. I wish all of the essays provided me with that kind of effect. It's not a bad collect ...more
Kate
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book took me completely by surprise!
I copied out so many passages, his words will stay with me. Its personal, soulful, vulnerable and just really good. Like sitting down with an old friend you havent seen in a while. I read a lot by female writers so I wasn't sure how I would take to a personal essay collection by a male writer but honestly I loved it. It read like a coming of age memoir in essays. Perry gets very personal as he relays his experiences. Themes of identity, race, and belongin
...more
Stacia
I liked some of the topics Perry mused about (racism, sexuality, identity), but I didn't really like his writing style. Imo, he tended to either ramble or to hyper-focus; the writing felt plodding at times, kind-of like an unedited diary -- a few nuggets but lots of other boring details & digressions that I found uninteresting. I didn't have a huge interest in the music scenes or the party/drinking to excess scenes, both of which were underlying topics running through many of the essays. I can s ...more
The Nerd Daily
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Beth Mowbray

Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now, the debut collection of essays from writer Andre Perry, is both the work of literary merit that serious non-fiction readers crave and an easily approachable compilation that will draw in those who typically prefer fiction.

Perry approaches creative nonfiction with fresh eyes and a contemporary perspective. In just a brief 185 pages, he offers 10 interrelated essays which share the common theme of hunger
...more
Nick Crowley
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Andre Perry is a great writer, and our society has no clue how to handle race.

You can’t expect anyone, however thoughtful, however talented a writer, to give you any answers in that regard. In his essays, Perry projects a series of vignettes that illustrate this point. He's a highly educated black man navigating what he calls "the rules of the white system," confronted by what seems to be a constant imposition of awkward, fatiguing (sometimes blatantly racist) tableaux, in which people say or d
...more
Devin
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don’t think I would have picked this book up on my own. Sometimes essays are hard to read. Hard in the subject matter but also: essays feel like work when I often desire fluff.

But I know this author. Well, wait. Not really. I know who he is. I’ve never talked to him. He is involved in the music and arts and writing scene in Iowa City. What attracts me most about him and this book is that he is behind-the-scenes, and damn, do I ever appreciate this. He isn’t out there touting every single thin
...more
Dominic
Mar 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
"My head is full of confusion as it often is."

This is such a complex essay collection, one that tries to get at what makes an identity in the early part of the 21st century. Most of the essays consider race, particularly being Black in America, but there are other intersections including gender (masculinity), sexuality, and class.

There are as many moments of Perry's failures and befuddlements laid bare as there are his nuggets of wisdom and clarity. I love the mess of all that, that hungry curio
...more
Cassie (book__gal)
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am endlessly fascinated with how people explore their identity. How they interrogate it, discover themselves, and how they define it. Andre Perry’s debut collection of personal essays is just that: a journey into identity, but really, into belonging. Perry anatomizes his own personal truths but also the commonalities and shared experiences of blackness, queerness, and humanity as a whole. The writing is fluid in such a way that it is able to move from the analytical eye to poetic, lyrical pros ...more
cat
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
I picked this up based on Devin's review and am SO GLAD that I did. I may come back and add a real review, but for the moment will just say that the essays in the book have a realness that stunned me occasionally, and that kept me reading past my usual bedtime to finish. Unflinching in his self-examination and in the portrayal of the constancy of racism no matter the geography he inhabits, it makes fro an incredibly compelling read.

NPR said, " More than a collection of essays, this book reads l
...more
Beth M.
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There are a few things that are important to know right off the bat. I don’t read a lot of essay collections. This one, though ... this one is going to be knocking around in my head for some time to come. And Two Dollar Radio ... whew! I haven’t picked up a book put out by them this year that was anything less than amazing. Take note!

With that said, Andre Perry takes creative nonfiction to a whole new level in this debut collection. In a brief 185 pages, Perry shares 10 interrelated essays explo
...more
Emily
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This essay collection was a birthday gift from my husband, and he knows my taste well! It’s also from Two Dollar Radio, and I tend to love nearly everything they publish. This was a great collection, though some essays were hit or miss for me. I think that’s just the way it goes with essay collections. I especially loved the first essay with the Toni Morrison references and Oprah conversation, and the final essays that were letters to Emma. The Hong Kong music scene one was very meh to me. Loved ...more
Jacob Hoefer
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fans of Hanif Abdurraquib will absolutely take to this unique spin on memior in essays. Focusing on race and sexuality and how they play with (or against) eachother in America these essays shine brightest when Perry experiments with fictional scenarios based on his experiences. The sequence where we read a transcript of his interview with O is a particularly striking chapter. Deffinitly another worthwhile entry from Two Dollar Radio and their cast of "Midwestern" authors.
Amanda Dissinger
Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such a worthwhile book. Important thoughts and beautiful writing on what it means to be American and a person of color living in the Midwest but constantly feeling rootless. Looking forward to reading more from Andre Perry!
marizona
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
sooooo good. deep even in the shallows and thought provoking and so beautifully poignant. never read someone write about race like this before. loved it
Brittany
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, non-fiction
"Poor in pocket, rich in mind, he is an idealist and a dreamer."
Brian Johannesen
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly insightful and honest essays. This book will make you a better person.
Linda Bond
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am so happy that I discovered Andre Perry and his moving essays. His ability to announce even the most egregious events with the beauty of his flowing narrative will stay with me for a long time. I still hear snippets replaying through my mind: “The party is a hum.” “We were cracking like old paint but we weren’t old…” “A Massachusetts girl. Blond hair and a blue gaze.” Oh my, what a delicious treat. Presented in a variety of ways including what appears to be a screen play, these essays will m ...more
Miesha Wilson Headen
Feb 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Andre Perry's Some of Us are Very Hungry is one of the most innovative memoirs since Margot Jefferson's Negroland. Perry gives the vantage point of being a highly educated, handsome, black man in the rarefied locales of St. Albans in Washington D.C., San Francisco, and the Iowa MFA program. He lives life like an NBA basketball player in off season.

He drinks a lot and sleeps with women a lot. He travels to China and listens to crap popular music. He contemplates the typical ideas of otherness, bu
...more
Jasen
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Insightful words of wonder and wandering. Reminded me of some of my youthful longing and loneliness but with experiences unique to Andre though some of the locations we have shared. Heartfelt, earnest, aware, and well paced.

“But time took away my architecture and I turned into a sticky, knowing ooze that slid through the fault lines of an uncertain future,” p.38

“I tried to do it all but still I stood there, sweaty and tired, facing the inevitable truth that moving breaks us, through sheer physi
...more
Melanie  Hilliard
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Coronavirus book review #11 – 4 stars

Sometimes the personal essay can seem so aimless. Truth be told, that’s where I thought this collection was headed after the first essay on Perry’s San Francisco years. But his mastery of the craft brought it all together.

Perry captures that specific moment, that sliver of years when the Bay area transitioned from just another big city into the big moneyed behemoth that nobody, not even those with great jobs, can afford.

As a current Midwesterner and former
...more
Kate
May 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Coastal elites, fish out of water, soggy aspiring writers
Recommended to Kate by: 305.800973 PE
What would you do if you found yourself too cool for San Francisco, yet somehow not cool enough for Iowa City? Where is the boundary between underground and normal? How would you feel if you could neither stand to kill a spider nor coexist with it in your home? What does it mean to move through the world as a Pre-Approved Negro, and does it beat the alternatives? To find out, read the essay collection Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now by Andre Perry and place yourself, with all of us, “spread out o ...more
Rebecca H.
This essay collection ranges from San Francisco to Hong Kong to Iowa City. It covers scenes from Perry’s experiences in an elite Washington, D.C., high school, in lively San Francisco neighborhoods, and in graduate school for creative writing. He writes about being a music journalist, about the times people have used racial slurs in his presence, and about the ways he did and did not feel he belonged in various spaces. The essays are intimate and honest, and each one uses personal material to gr ...more
Smileitsjoy (JoyMelody)
I really did not know what I was expecting when I started Perry's collection and I think that is what makes this collection so perfect. At first glance, it may seem all over the place but when you look closer you see that it is threaded together by different geographies and different ways a Black person may navigate through this country.
I try not to fall into the trap of picking a favorite essay; however, No Country is my favorite.
The whole book is amazing; however, that essay, in particular,
...more
Miah Jeffra
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
There is a lot of strong writing in this collection of essays, about belonging, about navigating white spaces as a black body, about fitting in to black cultural spaces. The San Francisco stories were most atmospheric, the Heartland section the most thoughtful. I'm not exactly sure why this was a collection, however. The book's heart shifted around for me, as if the individual essays weren't intended to be a collection, at all, really. However, it is insightful, full of humanity, and definitely ...more
Brittany | thebookishfiiasco
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now by Andre Perry | @twodollarradio #partner

this is a collection of stories that leaves you feeling like you just made a new friend. like i’ve been saying, Perry is vulnerable and raw, uses a multitude of creative approaches, and leans into any uncomfortable moment with beautiful words to tell it like it is. the utilization of fictional scenarios and other forms of art to tell a story of his experience was incredibly unique and intriguing. Perry dabbles into realms fo
...more
Matthew
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Essays on race, music, love, art, sexuality, sex... Questions everywhere. Ask yourself everything.
Stephanie
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Each essay in this slim volume is a gem.
Karen
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful. Poignant. And something to be read by everyone. Especially now. ESPECIALLY NOW.
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