Kenya Curtis is only eight years old, but she knows that she's different, even if she can't put her finger on how or why. It's not because she's black - most of the other students in the fourth-grade class at her West Philadelphia elementary school are, too. Maybe it's because she calls her father - a housepainter-slash-philosopher - "Baba" or because her parents' friends gather to pour out libations "from the Creator, for the Martyrs" and discuss "the community". Kenya does know that it's connected to what her Baba calls "the shame of being alive" - a shame that only grows deeper and more complex.
Disgruntled, effortlessly funny, and achingly poignant, follow Kenya from West Philadelphia to the suburbs, from public school to private, from childhood through adolescence, as she grows increasingly disgruntled by her inability to find any place or thing or person that feels like home.
©2015 Asali Solomon (P)2015 Tantor
"A deft, knowing, bold, and witty debut." (Booklist)
Struggled to complete this book. At times the read was confusing. When referencing the key, why Kenyas parents never took her to a therapist about her sleep walking. It felt like this author became just as confused and decided to give up on the ending. I'd hoped that the ending was going to come together but it never did.
The father is severely damaged as a result of racism or mental illness. As a result these issues damage the family. But despite his issues the main character will be be mostly okay. This story depicts the struggle of many educated African Americans.
Intimate descriptions of characters, sharp sword of truth, fresh voices, hilarious at times, a light shown on human nature, strong females....it reminded me of Adichie's Americanah.
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