Author: Echo Brown
Format Read: eBook
Overall Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I ended 2020 on a high reading note with Black Girl Unlimited. I don't know if I've ever enjoyed having my heart ripped out quite as much as I did while reading this book.
Black Girl Unlimited presents a masterful blend - in both the storytelling and narrative structure - of the real and the fantastical. Brown's voice as a stage performer and storyteller really comes through in the writing, painting scenes and evoking emotions in the reader with a practiced ease.
Brown puts this talent to very impactful use, tackling a range of heavy, critical subjects such as racism, sexism, poverty, sexual violence, and generational trauma in this fairly slim volume. The subject matter was weighty, eye-opening, and thought-provoking and, while it was very difficult to get through it sometimes, I wish there was even more space given to the exploration these very important subjects. I understand that this may have been a conscious choice given the intended young reader audience. Despite this, Black Girl Unlimited serves a good introduction to just some of the adversities that poor black American women face on a daily basis, providing messages of hope, advice for survival, and a call to further exploration for the interested reader.
Billed as "heavily autobiographical," it is difficult to determine whether the magical parts Brown presents were created for this novel or if they also might touch on an alternative reality that her mind created to deal with the endless string of hardships that she faced growing up in a world structured to keep her, as a black woman, on the lowest wrung of a social ladder. Regardless, it is theses magical parts - presented as wizard training and miracles - that serve as allegories for hard-won life lessons that Brown had to learn in order to survive and ultimately thrive.
Do yourself - and all of humanity a favor - and read Black Girl Unlimited. Then make everyone you know read it as well. I know that I will be highly recommending it to anyone who is willing to listen.
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