Friday, January 2, 2015

Book Review of Black Boy by Richard Wright

Black Boy is a classic of American autobiography, a subtly crafted narrative of Richard Wright's journey from innocence to experience in the Jim Crow South. An enduring story of one young man's coming of age during a particular time and place, Black Boy remains a seminal text in our history about what it means to be a man, black, and Southern in America.

Richard Wright, a young and intelligent black man growing up in the racist south wrote his autobiography in 1943 at the age of 35. Wright, growing up in white standard society, never reached his full potential in school. Despite what whites viewed him as and his violent family past, Wright eventually defied societal restraints and became a successful writer.

I rated this book a 4/5 stars. I really enjoyed it! It went from being happy to sad to poetic, it was amazing. Wright's expression of his emotions were very comforting and sometimes he would write in free verse, like a poem. I thoroughly enjoyed that. His depiction of his familial violence was touching, and it made you feel sympathy for him. At the end of the book you feel very happy for Richard, and feel as if you have been with him along his journey to a free life.

 There were so many quotes that I loved, but only one was by far my favorite:

"Up and down the wet and dusty street, indoors and out, the days and nights began to spell out magic possibilities." (63)

Being an autobiography, the story line for the book was quite simple: Richard grew up in a society  when the Jim Crowe laws and segregation were a reality:

Richard faced oppression at a young age, both from his family and society. His father left his family when he was young, and he had a younger brother and a mother to take care of as well. He started working at the age of six. Isn't that crazy? Richard was oppressed by his family, as no one in his family supported his dreams of becoming a writer, instead smashing them and molding them to fit reality's expectations. Richard triumph in defeating his family's and society's expectations was truly astonishing and inspiring, which is what made this autobiography so enjoyable o read and so successful.

I realize I do bring this up at a time where racism is a reality: Ferguson, MO. Living in St. Louis, it is a hard thing to deal with everyday. Thankfully, I am lucky enough to live in a safe area, away from all the violent protests. I am not here to preach on the situation or even state my opinion, only to bring up the idea that we need to come together as a country and get through these tough times together. This was what made the autobiography so meaningful to me.

Well I hope you enjoyed this book review, and I will be back again soon with a review for Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. (I've been on a history kick!) I will talk to y'all soon, make it a great day!!

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