DO RIGHT BY ME

LEARNING TO RAISE BLACK CHILDREN IN WHITE SPACES

Essential reading for those who parent or nurture Black children or anyone who wants to better understand race in America.

A timely and in-depth parenting guide for White parents of Black children.

The authors, longtime friends and colleagues, aim to “orient parents and other community members to the ways race and racism will affect a Black child’s life, and despite that, how to raise and nurture healthy and happy children.” Harrison is Black, and D’Angelo and her husband are the White adoptive parents of a child whose biological mother is White and whose biological father is Black. The book grew out of the authors’ ongoing conversations about race and D’Angelo’s efforts to equip her son with the perspectives he needs to thrive. White parents, write the authors, must understand systemic racism, culture, identity, privilege, White supremacy and how their Black children will navigate the world in ways that they do not have to. To “protect, nurture, educate, affirm, encourage and advocate for every child,” love isn’t enough. Talking about racism can be tough, but the authors present hard truths with aplomb, taking a deep dive into a range of topics, including positive racial identity, foundational research on transracial adoption, how racism impacts Black people’s health, racial inequity in education, and the persistent threat of violence against Black people. Ultimately, the authors call on parents and others to make specific commitments to create change within their communities and “dramatically change the social, political, and cultural system.” Harrison and D'Angelo write with an urgency and hopefulness that make progress both a mandate and something within reach. Their voices alternate throughout the text in candid and intimate conversations with each other, the reader, and the larger culture. Alongside their personal stories and real-life challenges, they present statistics and contextual history, which makes for a highly informative and compelling narrative.

Essential reading for those who parent or nurture Black children or anyone who wants to better understand race in America.

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4399-1995-8

Page Count: 194

Publisher: Temple Univ. Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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I'M GLAD MY MOM DIED

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

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The former iCarly star reflects on her difficult childhood.

In her debut memoir, titled after her 2020 one-woman show, singer and actor McCurdy (b. 1992) reveals the raw details of what she describes as years of emotional abuse at the hands of her demanding, emotionally unstable stage mom, Debra. Born in Los Angeles, the author, along with three older brothers, grew up in a home controlled by her mother. When McCurdy was 3, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Though she initially survived, the disease’s recurrence would ultimately take her life when the author was 21. McCurdy candidly reconstructs those in-between years, showing how “my mom emotionally, mentally, and physically abused me in ways that will forever impact me.” Insistent on molding her only daughter into “Mommy’s little actress,” Debra shuffled her to auditions beginning at age 6. As she matured and starting booking acting gigs, McCurdy remained “desperate to impress Mom,” while Debra became increasingly obsessive about her daughter’s physical appearance. She tinted her daughter’s eyelashes, whitened her teeth, enforced a tightly monitored regimen of “calorie restriction,” and performed regular genital exams on her as a teenager. Eventually, the author grew understandably resentful and tried to distance herself from her mother. As a young celebrity, however, McCurdy became vulnerable to eating disorders, alcohol addiction, self-loathing, and unstable relationships. Throughout the book, she honestly portrays Debra’s cruel perfectionist personality and abusive behavior patterns, showing a woman who could get enraged by everything from crooked eyeliner to spilled milk. At the same time, McCurdy exhibits compassion for her deeply flawed mother. Late in the book, she shares a crushing secret her father revealed to her as an adult. While McCurdy didn’t emerge from her childhood unscathed, she’s managed to spin her harrowing experience into a sold-out stage act and achieve a form of catharsis that puts her mind, body, and acting career at peace.

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982185-82-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

F*CK IT, I'LL START TOMORROW

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

The chef, rapper, and TV host serves up a blustery memoir with lashings of self-help.

“I’ve always had a sick confidence,” writes Bronson, ne Ariyan Arslani. The confidence, he adds, comes from numerous sources: being a New Yorker, and more specifically a New Yorker from Queens; being “short and fucking husky” and still game for a standoff on the basketball court; having strength, stamina, and seemingly no fear. All these things serve him well in the rough-and-tumble youth he describes, all stickball and steroids. Yet another confidence-builder: In the big city, you’ve got to sink or swim. “No one is just accepted—you have to fucking show that you’re able to roll,” he writes. In a narrative steeped in language that would make Lenny Bruce blush, Bronson recounts his sentimental education, schooled by immigrant Italian and Albanian family members and the mean streets, building habits good and bad. The virtue of those habits will depend on your take on modern mores. Bronson writes, for example, of “getting my dick pierced” down in the West Village, then grabbing a pizza and smoking weed. “I always smoke weed freely, always have and always will,” he writes. “I’ll just light a blunt anywhere.” Though he’s gone through the classic experiences of the latter-day stoner, flunking out and getting arrested numerous times, Bronson is a hard charger who’s not afraid to face nearly any challenge—especially, given his physique and genes, the necessity of losing weight: “If you’re husky, you’re always dieting in your mind,” he writes. Though vulgar and boastful, Bronson serves up a model that has plenty of good points, including his growing interest in nature, creativity, and the desire to “leave a legacy for everybody.”

The lessons to draw are obvious: Smoke more dope, eat less meat. Like-minded readers will dig it.

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4478-5

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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