Fire Shut Up in My Bones
Booklist Reviews 2014 August #1
Blow was a quiet, bookish boy in a rough-and-tumble family of five boys growing up in a poor family in a segregated small town in rural Louisiana. His father was a charming philanderer, his mother a hardworking woman who reached her goal to become a teacher but wasn't above the rough justice meted out to wayward husbands. Theirs was a sprawling family of disconnected parents, grandparents, and cousins not especially inclined to show affection. His family joined friends and neighbors in their suspicions about his status as a "regular" boy. Vulnerable and emotionally needy, he sought comfort for a time in the church, then shifted identities and changed adolescent alliances to fit in and avoid taunts. At college, he struggled with the usual search for personal identity. But through the brutal hazing process of pledging a fraternity, Blow finally began to confront the childhood trauma at the root of his search for sexual identity that had nearly driven him to suicide. New York Times columnist Blow offers a painful but ultimately triumphant story of surviving trauma. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2014 April #2
New York Times columnist Blow, known for his incisive exploration of key sociopolitical issues with the help of informative graphics, offers a memoir detailing his childhood as an African American in the Deep South and beyond.[Page 58]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
LJ Reviews 2014 November #1
New York Times columnist Blow revisits the black Louisiana town of his childhood; a trauma inflicted upon him by an older cousin; and an invitation, at a black fraternity, to perpetrate abuse himself. (Prepub Alert, 3/24/14)[Page 102]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
PW Reviews 2014 June #2
In this brave and powerful memoir, New York Times columnist Blow describes growing up poor, African-American, and sexually conflicted in the 1970s Deep South. The Civil Rights era barely touched his Louisiana hometown of Gibsland, and Blow's family struggles in segregated, rural poverty. Sexual abuse at the hands of an older cousin when Blow is seven drives the already sensitive boy into isolation and depression. Although Blow becomes a superior student and athlete, he remains haunted by his experiences. Thirteen years later, this inner turmoil explodes, and he feels compelled to murder the man who molested him. Gibsland seems trapped in a pre-industrial era (young people there eat clay). The rare intrusions of modernity are shocking: when his family learns of an overturned cattle truck on a nearby highway, they rush out, steal an injured cow, and slaughter it. The great bravery in the book lies in Blow's nuanced treatment of his uncertain sexuality. While he waxes sentimental at times, and the decision to shoot his cousin comes off as melodramatic, this is a singular look at a neglected America. (July)[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC