The purpose of this book is an awkward discussion of Eric Heard?s life to his son. He talks about his life in a candid way that tries to explain his anxiety as an African American dad. It is an open and honest account of his life through the life of a child that has been through a lot in his life. It is a reflection on his life that has been shaped by his childhood experiences.
Reflections of an Anxious African American Dad is a short biographical letter from the author to his son that tells the story of the author's childhood and the resulting anxieties that led him to punishing his son unfairly. The book touches on the effects of systemic racism on a community through a series of short parables (snippets from the author's life and the lesson he learned from the event), and how the effects of having been exposed to different communities changed his outlook.
Generally, I find biographies interesting and insightful (especially when telling important stories such as the ones the author experienced), and this short novel was no different. There were occurrences that (such as the one in the school where everyone was strip-searched) were appalling, but there were also some sweet memories, such as the author going fishing with his family, that balanced the mood of the stories out. And balanced is how I would describe the narrative voice. The author, it seemed to me, went through great lengths to be objective of the events in his past and to find those lessons (for his son and for us), and I thought this was an interesting take on a biography.
The reason this isn't a five-star is because of the writing. The author kept repeating certain things from chapter to chapter, and the events being out of order (or repeating) also led to some confusion for me. I also thought that some of the stories might've come across better with more detail as I felt like I was just receiving an impression of a story most of the time rather than the actual thing. There were also some quotes that the author wrote about himself that might rub some people the wrong way, such as: "I enjoyed that moment because I could appreciate a world that was either not noticeable or engaging enough for others." (at about 69% of the kindle version).
As for suggestions, I think anyone interested in seeing the root cause of some people's anxieties (or just people who don't know much about the southern African American experience) might read this book. However, if someone is looking for a more in-depth commentary, I'd recommend The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. I normally write a sentence on who shouldn't read a book, but there really isn't anything offensive at all in this book, and I think anyone could read it.
Reflections of an Anxious African American Dad by Eric Heard is a heartfelt, vulnerable, and uplifting memoir. This book takes the reader back in time to a place most people may never have been, to an era decades ago, and inside the mind of a young boy growing up in that place and in that era. The author writes from a perspective that feels free of judgment and free of malice, though many elements of the author’s life were unkind and unfair. Author Eric Heard focuses on encouragement and hope, and he reveals how the events of his life impacted him, and also impact his own son decades later. He also writes as a way to show how empowering it is to face the wounds, disappointments, and, as a whole, the past that trails behind each of us.
Eric Heard focuses on interesting and unique details that bring the stories in his book to life. The reader feels they can see and experience the events themselves. This book is easy to understand and follow. The conclusion hints that there will be more similar stories from the author in the future. This is a book sure to appeal to many as it will encourage time for honest reflections of our own lives and how our circumstances have been pivotal to our self-development, and may be influencing us more than we realize.
Reflections of an Anxious African American Dad by Eric L. Heard is a heart touching memoir about the author, his son and the stories they have as well as their experiences.
I found this book very emotional, honest and interesting as it was quite a unique experience for me to understand and know the story from the perspective of an African American person. Though at the same time, this book has a lot of things that I was able to relate to, so I'd say that it has a lot to offer to its readers.
I found the narration very simple, elegant as well as introspective and found myself drawn and submerged in the stories and experiences shared by the author in an elegant way. I'd recommend this book to everyone who reads memoirs. It is a quick read and that too an interesting one with unique insights.
You can also read this review on thereadingbud.com
Reflections of an Anxious African American Dad is a collection of stories written by Eric L. Heard about the author’s childhood and the experiences that shaped his worldview, both good and bad. Growing up an army brat and the son of an alcoholic had him on the move a lot. As a result, he got to experience different cultures, routines, and people. He applied himself and worked hard to become a successful adult with a few mental scars that he carries around with him. It’s not until he confronts his son after a bad test score one day that he realizes just how deep those scars go.
This book is a quick yet engaging read to anyone who loves to hear others’ life stories or parents who want to reflect on how their own pasts reflect their current parenting styles. I would have loved this book to have been longer and for the author to have included stories and details that he teases several times throughout the chapters. I also would have loved to have learned more about his parenting style and the dynamic forged between he and his son and how they relate to the stories he told of his own childhood. However, Heard is a gifted writer with a talent for storytelling. So, what is there is worth reading.
This was such a brilliantly written and emotionally driven memoir. The personal nature of this particular memoir really helps readers to feel connected not only to the message this novel creates but to the author himself and his struggles both with his past and his anxiety to be the best parent to his son possible. Stemming from a fear that his son would go down a path of chaos and bad decisions, the author recognizes his behavior not only directly impacts his son and his perceptions of the world, but how his own past and the adults in his life have impacted his actions in the present.
This is not only a great examination of learned behavior and environment on the growth of a child, (examining the author’s life and childhood growing up in the American South during the ’70s, 80’s and beyond), but in particular, this is a much needed and thoughtful look at the experiences African-American children undergo and the added pressures that African-American parents have to help raise their child in a nation that still houses too much racism. Combine this with the personal stories the author shares of his relationship with his parents, his grandparents, and the relationship between his parents and his grandparents together, and the reader gets both an intimate look into the author’s life and a broader look into the life of an African-American parent in the United States today.
A meaningful, insightful, and thought-provoking memoir, author Eric L. Heard’s “Reflections of an Anxious African-American Dad” is a must-read nonfiction book of 2021. While a short read, the book has a major impact, speaking to parents and in particular African-American parents as the book takes an intimate look into the author’s personal stories and showcases how our childhood and the way adults interact with children do have an impact on their lives later on. A truly meaningful book that is not to be missed, be sure to grab your copy today!
Eric L. Heard wrote this book for the benefit of his son, to explain his sometimes odd behavior and bring context to his actions and the anxiety he carries around as a result of his childhood. This book is an honest approach to issues such as racism, discrimination and how these can have lasting effects. Growing up with a troubled home life caused anxiety and seclusion for a younger Eric. Made worse was the discrimination he faced due to the color of his skin which is evident alone by the existence of segregated neighborhoods.
An inspirational read, this book has the power to make you re-evaluate how you see the world and open your eyes to real-life problems that you might not necessarily see in day-to-day life. The divide in society that Eric experienced as a child still exists to an extent today. This book does a brilliant job of helping the reader understand that not everyone is as fortunate as the reader might be. Or that, just because some people might not personally experience discrimination does not mean it is not there.
I highly recommend this book. It's moving, emotional, and sometimes shocking, but is proof that our past does not define us.
An Important Book, Regardless Of The Color Of Your Skin
As the title suggests, Eric L. Heard’s ‘Reflections of an Anxious African American Dad’ is a candid, personal account of the times that shaped the author's life and perspective as a father.
The book begins with Heard explaining a series of revelations to his wife following his son’s recent outburst at school. Heard’s issue was not with the stunt itself, but rather with his son’s blase attitude. Heard goes on to explain that his anxiety was rooted in the double-standard that many African-Americans face when it comes to, well, everything, and that, for this reason, his son’s education was paramount.
From there, Heard offers an unflinching, first-hand account of his own childhood, offering insights on everything from racial discrimination to the inherent challenges of growing up within a military family. According to Heard, his intention was to ‘attempt to reevaluate his behavior as a father and make corrective changes to prevent his son from falling into the generational curse.’
While Heard’s initial intention was to educate his son, and by proxy, other African American fathers, as a white male trying to better understand how to support the African American community, Heard’s writing, both vivid and succinct, offered me an invaluable perspective nonetheless. Admittedly, there was little within this text that I could immediately identify with, which is precisely why reading about Heard’s experiences left such an impact on me.
To that end, this is an important book, regardless of the color of your skin, and I would go so far as to say that people from every walk of life will find something of value within these pages.
I am glad to write a review of the book Reflections of Anxious African American Dad that I signed up for. This book is a good read and I enjoyed it. It is a book written out of Love as a dad to teach and protect, to reveal and explain the long hidden scars and hurts, the inequality and injustice endured, to expose the impact of the vicissitudes of life on a human being, including the dysfunctional relationship that resonates with members of any family and society. Eric Heard, the author, takes readers through a journey from his childhood life in Pensacola, Florida, a place of conflictual memories, joyful when remembering the good times at his paternal family house, but sad when recalling the crack tragedy that gnawed the poor and hopeless black community at the time of segregation in America. This book is also a narrative of Heard's painful memories of brutality and emotional trauma caused by a tumultuous relation between his parents, and later on the absence of his father. As a kid, Heard lived with his family on a military base where Americans, black and white live together contrary to the all black, discriminated, poor and dominated community in Pensacola. Education is everything, and it saved Heard from the devious crack tragedy but not from the anxiety left by all these struggling life experiences. Anxiety because of injustice, inequality, discrimination, segregation, brutality that have caused a trauma in a man fighting within himself to save and protect his descendants for a cross generation trauma. Reflections of Anxious African American is a well written testimony that reflect this present moment. I really enjoyed reading it and learned a lot from this living witness of Pensacola. I highly recommend reading it.
I HEARD THAT- Pun intended! Author Eric L. Heard had me at his title, Reflections of an Anxious African American Dad. Then I became completely immersed in his stories-- some similar to mine-- which wove "the lesson" in so beautifully. As a native of southeastern Louisiana, any mention of gumbo gets my attention. Heard's stories are relatable and leave you wanting more. This book is a rewarding gift for parents and mature children, regardless of race. That said, I love that Eric Heard did the work to pave a smoother path for his African American son. I will share this book with others, especially my adult children. It is a perfect Father's Day gift! I look forward to future releases from this very thoughtful writer. Well done, Eric L. Heard!
I received a free ecopy from Voracious Readers Only. I always like biographies. The book is very casually written. It felt like the author was speaking right to you.
The book talks about family, school, race, drugs, military brats, money, and class. I could relate to a lot of what the author was writing about. It was good to learn about topics that I haven't dealt a lot with.
The author, at times, apologies to the reader, about what he was writing or experienced. The book should be without explanations or apologies. I found it strange that he explained to the reader what gumbo, paddling, and a military brat is.
I wanted to know what happened to the author after his childhood. Maybe he is saving it for another book. It is a good book to understand how family and other factors can influence us. Thank you to the author for giving us a glimpse into your world.
Reflections of an Anxious African American Dad is a short memoir in the form of a letter to his son. He is concerned the anxiety that consumed him as a child will be passed on to the next generation without context. Heard’s writing is precise and clear, and there are moments of subtle humor that were fun to come upon. Though his story is compelling, a must read for any white American wondering how life differs for Black Americans, I wish he did more showing than telling, scenes that contain detail and dialog, for example. As an author of two memoirs, I understand how painful these depictions can be, but for the story to come to life, they are a must. I hope to see them in his next book.
This book was provided by voracious readers in return for the honest review below.
Firstly - why 4 stars? Because I wanted more... a brief book and I'm looking forward to further books.
Reflections of an Anxious African American Dad is a thoughtful and interesting read. As a Person of Colour (PoC) I’m all to aware of colourism, triggers and the deep wounds of racism. Nevertheless Eric Heard has introduced many of these dimensions with an openness and vulnerability that is touching to read. If you’ve ever been a parent, want to be a parent, or have observed/been subject to discordant environments then this book will speak to you. This book may be brief, but the content is insightful and honest and I can certainly empathise with much of the content. Ultimately we all need to turn to our ‘…triggers and face them with wisdom and compassion.’ This is a book I’ll re-read, and I’ll share with my daughter, to further reveal the underlying anxieties and concerns we all face. I hope that Eric L. Heard writes further, allowing each of us to learn through his observations and candid anecdotes.
This book is directed at the author’s son so it reads more like letters than the average memoir or autobiography. It’s very short at 98 pages so it doesn’t take very long to read.
I feel like it wasn’t about anxiety as much as I expected it to be. It was more about growing up African American in the US. More specifically, growing up in Florida in the 70s. He starts off explaining about an event with his son. This event is what triggered his idea to write about his anxiety. Then he writes about how the book came to be. After that it’s all about events from his childhood and later that are relevant.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Wow. This was such an excellent and eye opening read. I can only imagine what a black father must go through trying to raise a son in this country and trying to not make the same errors his parents did. This was such an excellent read
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
It’s important for all of us to realize that our personal experiences are not the same as everyone else’s. One place to begin seeing the bigger picture is in books like Reflections.
Mr. Heard does a great job of presenting a situation he had with his son and explaining why he reacted as he did. He openly shares his life experiences as a young boy in the 1970s south and how it helped shape the man he is today.
By sharing our stories with one another, you build understanding, appreciation, and community. All things we need in our world today.
I loved the authenticity of the book. Eric addressed a topic that is in the hearts of African American men but rarely spoken out loud. He acknowledges a fear that I have dealt with as an African American woman for my family. It was refreshing to read that I am not alone. The book is an easy read as it exposes you to Eric’s world. I highly recommend this book to all people. Especially if you have ever felt excluded abs mistreated for any reason.
Reflections of An Anxious African American Dad is a very good read for those that want to better understand the African American journey. I enjoyed reading the stories and recommend to other women who want to understand the male experience.
“Reflections of an African American Dad” is a very good read. I felt like there were areas in the book that left the reader curious to what was next. Over all I enjoyed the book and would suggest you to read it.
This book is an awesome read.The story flows very well. It paints a great picture on how the author experienced his character development. As it may be painful to share certain experiences, it helps create awareness for someone to see life through a different lens. Great book!
This biography, Reflections of an Anxious African American Dad, starts with an incident involving his son. The author soon realizes that his reactions are influenced by his own upbringing. The rest of the story is about his upbringing in Pensacola, FL, and some time spent in North Carolina. The things he saw and experienced shaped him, as it does with all of us. Although the writing is clunky in some areas, it does have charm. And I appreciate it when others tell their stories - 4/5 stars
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
This is an honest and thoughtful book, a letter from a man to his son, a story of who he is and how he got to be the kind of father he is to his son. I felt the best aspects of this book were how clear and concise the writing was, and how well you could experience Eric's memories from his childhood and resulting anxiety as an adult. His descriptions of several of the women who helped raise him were particularly strong. I was left wishing for more stories from his youth and I hope that he will write more, as promised in the book.
I received an ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I read this book from a couple of different perspectives. I am a non-African foreigner to the melting pot culture in the United States. I have lived in a few different countries where racism is quite rampant and unchecked. In some of those countries that racism seems to be accepted as people of African heritage and origin tend to have little and people of European heritage tend to live in abundance.
Having given that little bit of background, I can say that the first perspective from which I read this book was as a fellow author of a non-fiction author. The author's stories and reflections are quite relatable. His applications of life lessons represent steps toward a break from a family history into a better future.
As I read through a couple of chapters, I began to consider a second perspective, because of other books I have read about African American history and racism. That perspective was as a white person living in a world that seems tipped precariously toward oppression of African American people, which I honestly find sad and deplorable. While I sympathize with the plight of a culture that is still trying to overcome the sting of having been enslaved.
The other two perspectives took to I read this book are from the person who suffered bullying because of a learning disability called dyslexia. The other is of a Christian.
While enduring the bullying of fellow students in grade school, I began to despise my so called friends, because it meant they couldn't accept that I had difficulty learning. For that I related to the story written by this author even more.
Reading the book as a Christian makes me grateful and hopeful that the global society can overcome the stains and scars of history perpetrated by bigotry and hateful people who didn't know any better.
If you think or believe that Uncle Tom's Cabin or 12 Years a Slave are merely history, you need to read this book to see just how African American culture still bears the scars of slavery today.
Reflections of anxious African American is a memoir and a story. It begins with the author expressing his experience and journey as a father and how it shaped him into the man he is today. Eric’s honesty is reflected in the retelling, and his behaviour towards his son sends him into a self-reflecting mode, letting us know about his upbringing and so much more. What I particularly enjoyed about this book was that everyone could take something away from reading it. The subtle supplementary humour was pleasantly added. I would have preferred a more detailed descriptive nature of the events; however, what did exist, and the emphasis of the writing, was on the measures that had passed.
Every person’s encounter is different to the other, and so my interpretation of the story was based on the author’s perspective and input. I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read reflections and memoirs.
When you read this it’s so easy to see how the author is so greatly affected by his childhood. Our childhood experiences make us who we are. This author grew up in the South during the 70’s and 80’s and lived in a very segregated community. As he later moved around because his father was in the military, he saw another type of community. As a white reader I can remember observing this type of community in my childhood childhood in Mississippi during the 70’s. This father is anxious because he became that way as a child and because he wants his own children to understand his background and his desire to prevent generational pain. The writing is personal and the stories are touching. We can all learn from this dad! There are a few curse words in this book. I voluntarily reviewed this book and all opinions are 100% my own.
This is a short, insightful read about a dad telling his son his experiences.
It took me a bit to get in, but once I was in, I couldn't pull myself out. This story is a collection of many stories told through a father's eyes. It felt very warm and intimate like I was listening to the author as if I was his child.
I was able to see the world through the father's eyes, why he acts a certain way, and why he feels certain things. This is one of the most important things about a story, and the author really nails it on the head.
More people need to read experiences like this, so if you have a little time, then check out this story.
*I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review
This was such a powerful book. A father who only wanted the best for his son, while trying to navigate a system already stacked against him. As far as biographies/memoirs go, this was one of the shorter ones I've read, but that didn't make its impact any less. My heart absolutely went out to Heard, and I enjoyed the peeks into various moments of his life. A poignant read that will touch your heart, and let you catch a glimpse inside a unique life.