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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fire Shut Up in My Bones: A Memoir

Oh goodness gracious. Talk about a punch in the gut--Charles M. Blow's Fire Shut Up in My Bones.

Charles Blow, a New York Times columnist, is the youngest child of a Louisiana couple who face their own challenges in the world. He is very shy, doesn't fit in, and is incredibly attached to his mother. He is distanced from his gaggle of older brothers--something is very different about him, that he knows from a young age. This all contributes to a dark and startling violation by a trusted family member. This violation will change Charles's life forever, leading him to question his identity, his choices, and his life as a whole.

What an astounding and incredible piece of work. I was floored; I was moved. So much so that I passed my copy on to a friend because this has to be read. More than this, it has to be read with an open heart and a willingness to let Blow into your life. I find that the more I read in general, the more I love genuine Southern literature. It was a joy to be in Blow's world for a while and to allow him to tell me his story--it was an honor that he would trust me, as his reader, to ingest it and all me to wallow in it for a while. 

Blow is, first and foremost, and incredible writer. He has an ease that comes across in his prose that allowed me to sit inside it like a soft, soothing, comfortable egg. His words surrounded me and lived in me, and they were intelligent yet never patronizing. It is clear that he is a writer, and a story teller, and now all I want to do is pick up some of his journalism because I am sure it has to be beyond amazing. 

His story is also lovely and astounding; his childhood is so normal for what it is yet so different from what is to be expected. His desire to pursue a higher education and to be the best that he can be, whether it's through his fraternity or campaigning for a job that does not yet exist, is a lesson to be learned for anyone entering the big bad world at present. His attached relationship with his mother and the distance he experienced between his brothers is so easy to relate to in his tale; being violated by someone he knows and trusts is completely the opposite. Blow tells his tale with such fervor and drive that it's hard not to want to sit and listen to him speak for hours.

Hard copy for purchase below.

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