August 13, 2019

For Black Girls Like Me

"My round face. My dark brown eyes. My skin the color of ditch water. Muddy river. One of these things just doesn't belong." ~ pg. 96

Have you read a book labeled as fiction but it seemed too real? Too memoir-ish? I get the sense that author Mariama J. Lockington drew upon her own personal experiences to write For Black Girls Like Me. That made it all the more better. It was as if she spilled childhood memories onto the page in lyrical prose. WAYMENT...I just noticed the author and main character have the same initials: M.J.!

Makeda June Kirkland is an 11-year-old black girl that feels like a question mark. Her parents and big sister are white; she is adopted. No matter how much love is in the family, Makeda can't help feeling left out and wondering how it would feel to grow up with a family that looks like her reflection in the mirror. Brown glowing skin, locs, natural hair, teeny-weeny afro and all!

"Do you remember the first black woman to ever wash your hair? What did it feel like? Did it hurt? Or did it feel like home?" ~ pg. 134

Talk about a book that has you in your feelings—whew! At times I wanted to hug young Makeda, let her know life would get better and to keep presenting herself as the young smart black girl she is. And other times, I wanted to back-slap bullies and reassure her white parents.

For Black Girls Like Me has sensitive themes such as depression, self-discovery, racism, identity, friendship and the impact of music; but the chapters are short (loooove!) with letters and poems sprinkled throughout.  I was on a roll after I got past the absence of commas and oddly placed periods. I finished the 300+ page book in only two days. Not nearly enough time to flaunt the beautiful cover while reading in public.

I recommend this novel as a buddy read for moms and young adult daughters, grandmamas and young granddaughters, book exchange clubs for middle schoolers and best friends in 4th-8th grade. Order it for school library. Gift a copy. Add to summer reading list. Just get it! Share it! Then discuss this heartbreaking yet necessary coming-of-age story.

"In this house we believe:

Title: For Black Girls Like Me
Author: Mariama J. Lockington
Published: August 2019
Pages: 321
Edition: Hardcover
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤


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