A sensitive reflection on essential work.

ESSENTIAL LABOR

MOTHERING AS SOCIAL CHANGE

A celebration of caregiving.

Garbes, a Filipina who describes herself as “a woman of color, a writer, and a mother,” melds memoir with social, political, and cultural critique to offer a thoughtful analysis of the social and personal complexities of mothering. Growing up with a mother who was a nurse and a doctor father, she admits, “one of the luxuries of my childhood was to remain oblivious to all the work that went into raising me.” Raising a child and caring for a home are only parts of what Garbes means by mothering, which, she writes, includes anyone engaged in “the practice of creating, nurturing, affirming and supporting life” within one’s family and community. The author argues persuasively that “the global economy is driven as much by care as so-called productive labor.” Garbes gives a historical overview to trace how care has become “gendered and racialized.” Her mother immigrated as part of a wave of Filipina nurses, recruited aggressively by hospital administrators, paid low wages, and often treated with hostility and resentment. As the author reports, 92% of domestic workers are women, and “fifty-seven percent of them are Black, Latina, or Asian American/Pacific Islander. We entrust the safety and cleanliness of our homes to Latinx workers, who comprise 62 percent of house cleaners.” As the global pandemic revealed to economically comfortable women who suddenly had to take on the work of primary caregivers, teachers, nannies, and house cleaners, servitude characterizes many workers that they depend on. Besides throwing necessary light on the need to recognize—and appropriately compensate—the value of mothering, Garbes draws on her personal experiences to consider “the details of caregiving, the small decisions that make up each day” in shaping children’s lives. The issues she has faced include talking about bodies and creating a world “that makes it possible for all bodies to thrive”; accepting one’s body and appetites; and fostering a love of nature.

A sensitive reflection on essential work.

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-293736-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper Wave

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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Everything about Sabathia is larger than life, yet he tells his story with honesty and humility.

TILL THE END

One of the best pitchers of his generation—and often the only Black man on his team—shares an extraordinary life in baseball.

A high school star in several sports, Sabathia was being furiously recruited by both colleges and professional teams when the death of his grandmother, whose Social Security checks supported the family, meant that he couldn't go to college even with a full scholarship. He recounts how he learned he had been drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the first round over the PA system at his high school. In 2001, after three seasons in the minor leagues, Sabathia became the youngest player in MLB (age 20). His career took off from there, and in 2008, he signed with the New York Yankees for seven years and $161 million, at the time the largest contract ever for a pitcher. With the help of Vanity Fair contributor Smith, Sabathia tells the entertaining story of his 19 seasons on and off the field. The first 14 ran in tandem with a poorly hidden alcohol problem and a propensity for destructive bar brawls. His high school sweetheart, Amber, who became his wife and the mother of his children, did her best to help him manage his repressed fury and grief about the deaths of two beloved cousins and his father, but Sabathia pursued drinking with the same "till the end" mentality as everything else. Finally, a series of disasters led to a month of rehab in 2015. Leading a sober life was necessary, but it did not tame Sabathia's trademark feistiness. He continued to fiercely rile his opponents and foment the fighting spirit in his teammates until debilitating injuries to his knees and pitching arm led to his retirement in 2019. This book represents an excellent launching point for Jay-Z’s new imprint, Roc Lit 101.

Everything about Sabathia is larger than life, yet he tells his story with honesty and humility.

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-13375-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Roc Lit 101

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

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BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME

NOTES ON THE FIRST 150 YEARS IN AMERICA

The powerful story of a father’s past and a son’s future.

Atlantic senior writer Coates (The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood, 2008) offers this eloquent memoir as a letter to his teenage son, bearing witness to his own experiences and conveying passionate hopes for his son’s life. “I am wounded,” he writes. “I am marked by old codes, which shielded me in one world and then chained me in the next.” Coates grew up in the tough neighborhood of West Baltimore, beaten into obedience by his father. “I was a capable boy, intelligent and well-liked,” he remembers, “but powerfully afraid.” His life changed dramatically at Howard University, where his father taught and from which several siblings graduated. Howard, he writes, “had always been one of the most critical gathering posts for black people.” He calls it The Mecca, and its faculty and his fellow students expanded his horizons, helping him to understand “that the black world was its own thing, more than a photo-negative of the people who believe they are white.” Coates refers repeatedly to whites’ insistence on their exclusive racial identity; he realizes now “that nothing so essentialist as race” divides people, but rather “the actual injury done by people intent on naming us, intent on believing that what they have named matters more than anything we could ever actually do.” After he married, the author’s world widened again in New York, and later in Paris, where he finally felt extricated from white America’s exploitative, consumerist dreams. He came to understand that “race” does not fully explain “the breach between the world and me,” yet race exerts a crucial force, and young blacks like his son are vulnerable and endangered by “majoritarian bandits.” Coates desperately wants his son to be able to live “apart from fear—even apart from me.”

This moving, potent testament might have been titled “Black Lives Matter.” Or: “An American Tragedy.”

Pub Date: July 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9354-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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