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ARE YOU OKAY? by Anthony Drayton


by Anthony DraytonA.S. Drayton

Pub Date: Jan. 5th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-66781-176-5
Publisher: Self

A debut memoir explores college life and friendship.

In this work, Drayton, a writer and the proprietor of A.S. Drayton Books, provides readers with a story about fighting feelings of worthlessness, focusing on how a stranger’s asking him “Are you okay?” one night changed his life. Curiously, Anthony Lunan, this stranger-turned-friend, did not stay in the author’s life for long. Personal circumstances necessitated Lunan’s leaving the university they both attended. Yet Drayton emphasizes that this recollection of a chance meeting is more than a “throwaway” in regard to the rest of the memoir. Lunan brought the author into a circle of friends who remained steady throughout Drayton’s many personal and academic trials and would be around years later to celebrate his forthcoming wedding. This book presents an engrossing picture of the life of a contemporary college student at George Mason University, a public college in Northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C. As such, this story delivers plenty of rich details and “local color,” including the Washington scavenger hunt that was part of Drayton’s fraternity’s pledge initiation. Indeed, a demand related to this scavenger hunt that the author found deeply offensive is part of his dramatic account of what he describes as a battle for the soul of the fraternity he joined and ended up staying with. He speaks at length about his struggle to find the right woman to love long-term and his fears that he never would. Drayton also recounts with bracing honesty the joys of using a hookah, both privately and in social settings. In addition, he briefly touches on being a Black man between Black and White social worlds. The book’s narrative flows well overall (even with the sometimes-distracting detours into the author’s dreams that seem all too real), though there is something of a disconnect in the account before what should be identified as an epilogue. Still, this is an engaging and human story about finding friendship and gaining confidence.

A compelling account that shows the difference a single act of kindness can make.