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How We Fight For Our Lives

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From award-winning poet Saeed Jones, How We Fight for Our Lives is a stunning coming-of-age memoir written at the crossroads of sex, race, and power. “People don’t just happen,” writes Saeed Jones. “We sacrifice former versions of ourselves. We sacrifice the people who dared to raise us. The ‘I’ it seems doesn’t exist until we are able to say, ‘I am no longer yours.’ ”


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From award-winning poet Saeed Jones, How We Fight for Our Lives is a stunning coming-of-age memoir written at the crossroads of sex, race, and power. “People don’t just happen,” writes Saeed Jones. “We sacrifice former versions of ourselves. We sacrifice the people who dared to raise us. The ‘I’ it seems doesn’t exist until we are able to say, ‘I am no longer yours.’ ”

30 review for How We Fight For Our Lives

  1. 4 out of 5

    Roxane

    In his astonishing, unparalleled memoir, How We Fight For Our Lives, Saeed Jones writes of making his body into a weapon, a fierce thing that can cut. In these pages, Jones also makes language into a fierce, cutting weapon. How We Fight For Our Lives is a coming of age story, it is a love letter to a black single mother, it is an indictment of our culture that creates so little space for gay men to learn how to be who they truly are. Most of all, this memoir is a rhapsody in the truest sense of In his astonishing, unparalleled memoir, How We Fight For Our Lives, Saeed Jones writes of making his body into a weapon, a fierce thing that can cut. In these pages, Jones also makes language into a fierce, cutting weapon. How We Fight For Our Lives is a coming of age story, it is a love letter to a black single mother, it is an indictment of our culture that creates so little space for gay men to learn how to be who they truly are. Most of all, this memoir is a rhapsody in the truest sense of the word, fragments of epic poetry woven together so skillfully, so tenderly, so brutally, that you will find yourself aching in the way only masterful writing can make a person ache. How We Fight For Our Lives is that rare book that will show you what it means to be needful, to be strong, to be gloriously human and fighting for your life.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ☠️ Hecka Wicked ☠️ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest HOW WE FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES is such a great memoir. It's everything a "good" memoir should be-- sensual, moving, thoughtful, provoking, erotic, intense, and unique-- but it also opens up many meaningful discussions and dialogues about what it means to be black, what it means to be gay, what it means to be both, and how it feels to be part of a group that is singled out, even from within members of each disparate community (hence the ever-important need for intersectionality in political Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest HOW WE FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES is such a great memoir. It's everything a "good" memoir should be-- sensual, moving, thoughtful, provoking, erotic, intense, and unique-- but it also opens up many meaningful discussions and dialogues about what it means to be black, what it means to be gay, what it means to be both, and how it feels to be part of a group that is singled out, even from within members of each disparate community (hence the ever-important need for intersectionality in political movements). Saeed is a really great memoirist. His writing is gorgeous and flows. This is one of the first memoirs I've read in a while that almost feels like fiction, in that the author is able to distance himself from, well, himself, and write personally and honestly about his experiences without making you feel like he's trying to apologize for being the way he is or offer some sort of narrative direction. It makes the memoir feel really personal, and at the same time, you also feel like you're watching a story unfold. I don't really have any complaints about this book. Some people have said that they did not like Saeed's choices (I can kind of guess which ones), but experience makes us who we are. I'm pretty hard to shock at this point, and felt like this memoir was very tame compared to others I have read. I liked how he melded his story with the concerns many people have with regard to racism and discrimination, and the parts about his mother were heart-wrenching. Definitely a must-read for those looking for great new books by black and/or LGBT+ authors. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!   4 to 4.5 stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    Tell me more, please! I hardly ever say this, but this book was too short--I wanted more! Saeed Jones is a fantastic storyteller, even when he is telling stories that are heartbreaking and difficult to read. His vignettes about finding his place as a young, gay black man from the South are powerful and vivid. There are age-old adages about how literature helps us understand others, and How We Fight For Our Lives is a window into experiences that are completely unlike my own. I wanted more because the vignettes Tell me more, please! I hardly ever say this, but this book was too short--I wanted more! Saeed Jones is a fantastic storyteller, even when he is telling stories that are heartbreaking and difficult to read. His vignettes about finding his place as a young, gay black man from the South are powerful and vivid. There are age-old adages about how literature helps us understand others, and How We Fight For Our Lives is a window into experiences that are completely unlike my own. I wanted more because the vignettes left some things out. Roughly 2/3 of the way through the memoir, Jones frames a traumatic event as a turning point for him. We're only given bits and pieces of how his thinking and behavior changed after this event, so I wanted to hear this part of the story, too. The memoir ends in 2011, which seems like an odd stopping point for a very young man's story. Jones was born in 1985, so 2011-2019 is roughly a quarter of his life. I understand why he chose to end this memoir where he did, but I also wonder how he has grown since then. Four stars. Read How We Fight for Our Lives if you're interested in a powerful account of the author's intersectional experience. (Readers should be forewarned that some content is graphic.) Thanks to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for giving me a DRC of this book, which will be available for purchase on October 8th.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Paris (parisperusing)

    It brings me great pain and joy to know Saeed Jones’ How We Fight For Our Lives will be set upon us all. Pain for the collective loss and sorrow gay black boys have suffered, and joy in knowing that it is stories like these that will set us free. It’s been a month since I read Saeed Jones’ How We Fight For Our Lives, and I fumbled so long to put words to its visceral glamour. When I first heard of its arrival over the winter, I needed it immediately. To imagine the amount of blood, sweat, and tears Saee It brings me great pain and joy to know Saeed Jones’ How We Fight For Our Lives will be set upon us all. Pain for the collective loss and sorrow gay black boys have suffered, and joy in knowing that it is stories like these that will set us free. It’s been a month since I read Saeed Jones’ How We Fight For Our Lives, and I fumbled so long to put words to its visceral glamour. When I first heard of its arrival over the winter, I needed it immediately. To imagine the amount of blood, sweat, and tears Saeed must’ve sacrificed to saturate these pages is beyond me. What emerges from that offering is a story of a gay boy coming into the blackness of his body, its starkest desires and demands, and an anthem of unsung single black mothers who must raise their boys to be their own saviors before it’s too late. Front to back, no other book has echoed so much of my own experience as a gay black boy like this. It took no effort at all to read Saeed’s story with an empathetic heart because I have been living this story in real time. There were so many instances I caught myself saying, “I know what that feels like too” and “Yes. Yes, that was me! That’s STILL me!” "You never forget your first 'faggot.' Because the memory, in its way, makes you. It becomes a spine for the body of anxieties and insecurities that will follow, something to hang all that meat on. Before you were just scrawny; now you're scrawny because you're a faggot. Before you were just bookish; now you're bookish because you're a faggot. Soon, bullies won't even have to say the word. Nor will friends, as they start to sit at different lunch tables without explanation. There will already be a voice in your head whispering 'faggot' for them." I was pricked with my first N-word assault by another white boy whose vestige still haunts me in the faces of white men wanting to be friends, lovers, or bringers of harm. I watched my mother’s smile dissolve in the face of financial and spiritual uncertainty, and the tenacity with which she raged at every whisper of my sexuality and my little brother’s autism. I, too, have submitted to the dehumanizing fetishes of white men that can drive a vulnerable black boy to hate himself and others like him. I know the sting of falling for straight men capable of nothing more than breaking our hearts if not our whole being. And above all, I still tussle with the prodigious fear of a lonely, loveless life because of who I was born to be. Thanks, Simon & Schuster friends, for sending me this remarkable book — and Saeed Jones, for sharing your light with the world. ❤️ If you liked my review, feel free to follow me @parisperusing on Instagram.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sahitya

    Wow ... I didn’t know what I was expecting from this memoir but this was so much more. It’s the story of the author’s life told by navigating through important moments of his life and the ultimate thread overall is his relationship with his beloved single mother. You can clearly see Jones is a poet because even his prose is stunningly beautiful and evocative - literally brimming with feelings like desperation, confusion, longing, fear and grief - and listening to the audiobook in his own voice b Wow ... I didn’t know what I was expecting from this memoir but this was so much more. It’s the story of the author’s life told by navigating through important moments of his life and the ultimate thread overall is his relationship with his beloved single mother. You can clearly see Jones is a poet because even his prose is stunningly beautiful and evocative - literally brimming with feelings like desperation, confusion, longing, fear and grief - and listening to the audiobook in his own voice brings even more life to it. I thought his particular fear about the ramifications of being both Black and gay was very palpable in his words and I could feel it myself. It really broke my heart. I was so lost in his words that I didn’t realize it was already over, and I just wanted to know more. This memoir truly deserves all the accolades it’s getting across the community and I hope everyone picks this up. I’m not much of a poetry reader but I definitely wanna go back and checkout his previous award winning poetry books.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cortney

    So many thoughts but I’m going to keep them to myself since this is his real life.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Traci at The Stacks

    This book is soooo good. Saeed Jones is a force. His skills as a poet is fully evident in the prose of this book. Sexuality. Humanity. Blackness. Family. Grief. It’s all in here. He is vulnerable and he is genius and just wow!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    Many thanks to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for an ARC of this book. What a beautiful memoir from Saeed Jones. Coming of age, coming out, relationships with family, a son and his single mother. Racism, homophobia - external and internal. Without giving away any real spoilers, I must say it was genius of him to use his sex scenes to talk about the horror of racism. And throughout the book his Mom shines through which makes me miss my own Mom. What a brave young man to share his experiences Many thanks to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for an ARC of this book. What a beautiful memoir from Saeed Jones. Coming of age, coming out, relationships with family, a son and his single mother. Racism, homophobia - external and internal. Without giving away any real spoilers, I must say it was genius of him to use his sex scenes to talk about the horror of racism. And throughout the book his Mom shines through which makes me miss my own Mom. What a brave young man to share his experiences with us. Very real.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Canaves

    I read in one sitting, and woo this is one of those memoirs that will live with me forever. It’s raw and powerful and it’s out in October, and if you’re a fan of memoirs definitely have this one on your radar. He’s also one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rosa Kwak

    beautiful, heart wrenching, and hopeful 😔🤙. memoirs are such a vulnerable invitation to one’s life and i’m so utterly grateful that saeed jones decided to write this. i couldn’t put this book down because it demands your attention in ways that not a lot of memoirs have the power to do so. how to write about pain and heartbreak in a way that confronts the absolute confusion that occurs when we are at our most overwhelmed. grab your tissues and make sure your make-up is waterproof, because saeed j beautiful, heart wrenching, and hopeful 😔🤙. memoirs are such a vulnerable invitation to one’s life and i’m so utterly grateful that saeed jones decided to write this. i couldn’t put this book down because it demands your attention in ways that not a lot of memoirs have the power to do so. how to write about pain and heartbreak in a way that confronts the absolute confusion that occurs when we are at our most overwhelmed. grab your tissues and make sure your make-up is waterproof, because saeed jones won’t hold back (and neither should you).

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    What a truly incredible memoir! I devoured this in one sitting, couldn't put it down - couldn't turn the pages fast enough and really wanted more once I was finished. How We Fight For Our Lives is powerful, captivating, heart wrenching and also full of strength. I admire so much that these amazing humans allow us, complete strangers, to see into their world, to read their truth. This is a memoir everyone needs in their life. I highly encourage you to read this. Thank you so so much Si What a truly incredible memoir! I devoured this in one sitting, couldn't put it down - couldn't turn the pages fast enough and really wanted more once I was finished. How We Fight For Our Lives is powerful, captivating, heart wrenching and also full of strength. I admire so much that these amazing humans allow us, complete strangers, to see into their world, to read their truth. This is a memoir everyone needs in their life. I highly encourage you to read this. Thank you so so much Simon & Schuster Canada for my review copy! I'm blown away!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Sullivan

    This is a gorgeous memoir about growing up gay and black in the south, about knowing that the odds are against you and trying to carve a space for yourself in a world where “being a black gay boy is a death wish.” For Saeed Jones, forging his identity was about more than just coming out, it was about living authentically in all the many ways—and about the painful journey of finding out what that even meant. Jones’ life takes him from Texas, where as a young teenager he disc This is a gorgeous memoir about growing up gay and black in the south, about knowing that the odds are against you and trying to carve a space for yourself in a world where “being a black gay boy is a death wish.” For Saeed Jones, forging his identity was about more than just coming out, it was about living authentically in all the many ways—and about the painful journey of finding out what that even meant. Jones’ life takes him from Texas, where as a young teenager he discovered his sexuality, to Kentucky where he went to college and embraced his budding sense of self, to New York City where he currently resides as a poet. The raw and candid content of his memories is conveyed in powerful, lyrical prose that leave a searing impression. While the primary focus is Jone’s own coming of age, this striking memoir also serves as a touching tribute to his mother, who raised him by herself. (Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    This book is fantastic. There are so many moments of pure genius and poetry, and lines I will never forget. Jones really captures what it feels like to not feel present in yourself and the life you are living. It is beautifully both specific and universal.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nadine

    How We Fight For Our Lives is a “coming-of-age memoir written at the crossroads of sex, race, and power.” Jones dissects his life for readers as he dives deep into his youth, his relationships with his mother and grandmother, and growing up in a culture that leaves little to no room for him to be true to himself. This memoir is raw, emotional, and powerful. I’m so few pages, Jones bares is soul as he tells the story of his younger self’s fight for his place in the world while trying u How We Fight For Our Lives is a “coming-of-age memoir written at the crossroads of sex, race, and power.” Jones dissects his life for readers as he dives deep into his youth, his relationships with his mother and grandmother, and growing up in a culture that leaves little to no room for him to be true to himself. This memoir is raw, emotional, and powerful. I’m so few pages, Jones bares is soul as he tells the story of his younger self’s fight for his place in the world while trying understand who he is as an individual. The content of this memoir is graphic, but not gratuitous. The graphic nature of the content is essential for readers to feel the pain, anguish, and vulnerability Jones experienced. These scenes become even more poignant once Jones links them to racism and power. Overall, How We Fight For Our Lives is a quick, but powerful read as Jones bares his soul for all to see. ***I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brandy

    A coming-of-age memoir about an African American boy coming to terms with being gay. Saeed grew up in the south fighting to understand his identity. How We Fight For Our Lives is a captivating read; you'll read about the up's and downs, the mental anguish, and the acceptance of who Saeed was and is now. The words are raw and flow beautifully; they really make you think about how we Americans treat each other and how being different is not so easily accepted. This memoir will stay with me for a l A coming-of-age memoir about an African American boy coming to terms with being gay. Saeed grew up in the south fighting to understand his identity. How We Fight For Our Lives is a captivating read; you'll read about the up's and downs, the mental anguish, and the acceptance of who Saeed was and is now. The words are raw and flow beautifully; they really make you think about how we Americans treat each other and how being different is not so easily accepted. This memoir will stay with me for a long time, I couldn't stop reading and I didn't want it to end. Thank you Saeed for your courage to write this memoir, you truly have an amazing skill.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Charlott

    4,5 "Boys like us never really got away, it seemed. We just bought ourselves time. A few more gasps of air, a few more poems, a few more years. History hurt more than any weapon inflicted on us. It hit back harder than any weapon we could wield, any weapon we could ourselves turn into." For memoir-lovers 2019 has been a fantastic year - as @readrunsea also pointed out today in her review of Saeed Jones' How We Fight For Our Lives. Jones memoir specifically can be positioned 4,5 "Boys like us never really got away, it seemed. We just bought ourselves time. A few more gasps of air, a few more poems, a few more years. History hurt more than any weapon inflicted on us. It hit back harder than any weapon we could wield, any weapon we could ourselves turn into." For memoir-lovers 2019 has been a fantastic year - as @readrunsea also pointed out today in her review of Saeed Jones' How We Fight For Our Lives. Jones memoir specifically can be positioned within a pile of beautifully written, creatively structured, funny and heartbreaking memoirs about queer coming-of-age experiences such as T Kira Madden's Long Live The Tribe of Fatherless Girls and Tegan and Sara Quin's High School.  In his book, Jones writes vignettes about his life from 1998 to 2011. Taken together do these not only offer a glimpse into Jones growing into himself but also into the complex relationship to his family, in particular, his mother and grandmother so that in the end, this book is also a love letter to his chronically-ill single mother. Jones reflects on the measures he took to carve out his space as a Black gay man, the ways he used sex, the meaning of 'coming-out as gay' but maybe not actually 'coming out as yourself'. How We Fight For Our Lives is a book about silence, love, coping mechanisms, yearning, and grief and it is in equal parts bold and tender. Jones crafts beautiful sentences, brings you right into the scenes he dissects and pulls at your heartstrings. All in all, I loved this book though I wished for at least 20-30 pages more (but well, that is also a testament to how wonderful this memoir was).  From reading his poetry collection When the Only Light Is Fire in 2013 to reading now this wonderful memoir, Saeed Jones has earned a place among my favourite writers. 

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Brody

    Saeed Jones has written a poignant and very personal memoir about being a gay black man. He records his difficulty coming out to his mother and the personal anxieties that plagued him while growing up. "Just as some cultures have hundred words for 'snow', there should be a hundred words in our language for all the ways a black boy can lay awake at night". The author wins a scholarship to a Kentucky State University to b on their debate team. Once at college, he becomes very sexually a Saeed Jones has written a poignant and very personal memoir about being a gay black man. He records his difficulty coming out to his mother and the personal anxieties that plagued him while growing up. "Just as some cultures have hundred words for 'snow', there should be a hundred words in our language for all the ways a black boy can lay awake at night". The author wins a scholarship to a Kentucky State University to b on their debate team. Once at college, he becomes very sexually active with different men, using a fake name as his identity almost all the time. "By now, I knew the ins and outs of names that were not mine and how to wear them like bodies. Every time I met a new man for sex, a new name blossomed in my mouth like a flower." Saeed deals with his sense of non-being, or erasing himself in order to be the son his mother wants. It takes him years to realize that he can be himself and his mother will still accept him. My main criticism of this book is that at times too much information is provided. The author discusses how one of his partners had not cleaned himself out and he is covered with feces after sex. I could have enjoyed the book a lot more not knowing this. Most of the writing is good, and even poetic at times. Some of the writing, however, reads like the author's MFA thesis.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This memoir will get a lot of comparison to Kiese Laymon's Heavy, and for good reason, but to my taste, I prefer this book. We learn the story of Saeed Jones's coming of age as a black gay man in Texas at a time when white supremacists are still dragging innocent black men down the streets behind their pick-up trucks and, in another part of the country, Matthew Shepard has been killed by yet another group of ignorant white men on the heels of the AIDS epidemic. What sets this book apart for me, This memoir will get a lot of comparison to Kiese Laymon's Heavy, and for good reason, but to my taste, I prefer this book. We learn the story of Saeed Jones's coming of age as a black gay man in Texas at a time when white supremacists are still dragging innocent black men down the streets behind their pick-up trucks and, in another part of the country, Matthew Shepard has been killed by yet another group of ignorant white men on the heels of the AIDS epidemic. What sets this book apart for me, is the adoring way Jones writes about his mother. There are passages here that made me hope that my boys will say something like that about me when they're grown. And maybe it is because I am a boy-mom twice over that I really felt connected to this memoir in particular, and therefore able to identify with his mother more closely. Jones is not a saint in his own story, nor does he pretend to be, but I believe he shows real growth over the course of the work. Moreover, the writing is beautiful. His previous works were collections of poetry, and that really shows throughout, but he never gets so "poetic" as to become difficult to understand. I also recommend the audiobook, which Jones narrates skillfully.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Chidester

    Gorgeously breathtaking. Couldn’t stop listening. The ending made me an absolute wreck. Call your mom. Saeed Jones is an amazing, amazing writer. See full review at @babewithabookandabeer on Instagram. Thanks @librofm and @simon.audio for an ALC for a review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Judy Robbins

    An astonishingly beautiful memoir. Jones lets us into the deepest parts of his life with such beauty and thoughtfulness and light. This book is a gift, and I admire the courage it must have taken to not only write this, but to put it into the world.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I received a review copy of this book from the publisher; opinions are my own. Y'all. 2019 has been a *year* for memoirs. We got T Kira Madden's LONG LIVE THE TRIBE OF FATHERLESS GIRLS. We got Esmé Weijun Wang's THE COLLECTED SCHIZOPHRENIAS. We got Sarah M Broom's THE YELLOW HOUSE. We got Tegan and Sara's HIGH SCHOOL. We got Jaquira Díaz's ORDINARY GIRLS. We got Carmen Maria Machado's IN THE DREAM HOUSE. And we got this burning flame of a book. It's truly an embarrassment of riches.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)

    Really well written and fascinating memoir, particularly enjoyed it as an audiobook as the author narrates! Highly recommend!

  23. 5 out of 5

    SibylM

    4.5 stars. Wow! Saeed Jones's writing is just impeccable. Never cold or distant, it is like you are reading his heart. There is anger in this book but so much love, too. I feel like I've gained a new window and a new perspective, always a wonderful feeling when you put down a book. Highly recommended. I received an ARC from the publisher via a Goodreads giveaway and an honest review was requested.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    Poets writing prose forever, please! Since reading his poetry collection, Prelude to Bruise, I've been waiting for more writing from Saeed Jones and was so happy to get an ARC of his memoir. This is an honest, powerfully written account of his experience growing up in north Texas (my hood!) as a gay, Black man. It's a letter to his mother, which reminds me of a few other awesome recent releases (Kiese Laymon's Heavy and Ocean Vuong's On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous) that intersects with his refl Poets writing prose forever, please! Since reading his poetry collection, Prelude to Bruise, I've been waiting for more writing from Saeed Jones and was so happy to get an ARC of his memoir. This is an honest, powerfully written account of his experience growing up in north Texas (my hood!) as a gay, Black man. It's a letter to his mother, which reminds me of a few other awesome recent releases (Kiese Laymon's Heavy and Ocean Vuong's On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous) that intersects with his reflections on masculinity, race, sexuality, and self love. It's short and sharp and leaves this painful but beautiful life on the page for the reader to consider.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brandee

    I met Saeed this morning at an ALA panel on memoirs. He and the other panelists had me tearing up. I skipped an afternoon session to read his book and just finished it before bed. Again I am in tears. His writing is as easy to read as he is quick to smile. I am so glad I got to see him laughing and smiling in person after reading his book. His emotions are so palpable as you read each of the four acts. It's not just his story. It is that of his mother as well. What an incredible woman I met Saeed this morning at an ALA panel on memoirs. He and the other panelists had me tearing up. I skipped an afternoon session to read his book and just finished it before bed. Again I am in tears. His writing is as easy to read as he is quick to smile. I am so glad I got to see him laughing and smiling in person after reading his book. His emotions are so palpable as you read each of the four acts. It's not just his story. It is that of his mother as well. What an incredible woman he has introduced us to.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    This was a highly anticipated release for me, and it did not disappoint. I will likely return to listen again in the future because of how timely and honest his words are. I can't imagine what it was like to write this, bur I'm hoping it was cathartic and I'm hoping many of his readers who lived through similar experiences will feel the same. When he said that being a gay man, or a black man, calls for prosecution in the eyes of some bigots, and then added that so he, a gay black man would have This was a highly anticipated release for me, and it did not disappoint. I will likely return to listen again in the future because of how timely and honest his words are. I can't imagine what it was like to write this, bur I'm hoping it was cathartic and I'm hoping many of his readers who lived through similar experiences will feel the same. When he said that being a gay man, or a black man, calls for prosecution in the eyes of some bigots, and then added that so he, a gay black man would have no chance, my heart twisted and tore. This a tough, important work to read. Note: In returning to the book's Goodreads page to write this review, the banner and sidebar ads were for this very book, showing blurbs from Kiese Laymon and Roxane Gay, both of whom have comparable works and styles which I was reminded of while I was listening to Jones.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Wow, the compassion given to each of the humans drawn in this book. Astonishing. Though my life has been much different than Jones’, I feel I’ve learned some of what my mother has gone through grieving her mother’s death, and have learned what kind of love I can hope to give my son, and the kind of human I hope he becomes. The prose is v tight, but not harsh—it shows a clarity of thought rather than apathy with the world. Will want to read passages in the written version to see constr Wow, the compassion given to each of the humans drawn in this book. Astonishing. Though my life has been much different than Jones’, I feel I’ve learned some of what my mother has gone through grieving her mother’s death, and have learned what kind of love I can hope to give my son, and the kind of human I hope he becomes. The prose is v tight, but not harsh—it shows a clarity of thought rather than apathy with the world. Will want to read passages in the written version to see construction.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Christine (Queen of Books)

    Thank you to Libro.fm and Simon & Schuster for a free ALC of this title for review. I really liked this beautiful memoir. Saeed Jones writes of his experiences as a "young, black, gay man from the South." This one's labeled as a coming-of-age memoir, and those aren't always of interest to me, but I'm happy to report that How We Fight For Our Lives is an exception. Highly recommend listening to the audio, recorded by Jones.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Basia

    Searing antidote to the myth of flawlessness. The messiness of life before AND after coming out, of grief, of the ways bodies ache for other bodies, of family that loves each other and fails each other and learns ways to keep loving despite this. I sighed a lot while reading, mostly to air out the heavy emotions this book stirred in me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Paul Ataua

    This is such a good book, a beautiful and brutally honest coming of age story of a writer, both black and gay, who is finding himself in the world. But it is much more than that. The story goes much deeper than race or sex, and despite not being black or gay, I really felt it resonate with me.

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