Essays In Criticism

Essays In Criticism-43
What a magnificent thing to say about another human being. They were deliberately expensive—drawing on a subconscious premium we place on the American lifestyle pre-Civil Rights—and of course, save Addy, all the American Girls were white. The slim book that introduces her, , tells the story of a slave owner forcing a worm into the mouth of his property, that dark-skinned and adorable American girl.I will never think about power or gentleness in the same way again. With a deadly calm and phenomenal focus, Brit Bennett’s piece turns over the weight of this shifty juxtaposition—the black doll’s tragedy as a source of joy.

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**Two bonus picks from my own publication: “Prime of Life: The Story of My 20s, as Told in Amazon Purchases,” by Lacey Donohue, on Gawker (“a grimly hilarious piece of experimental memoir”) and “The Player Whose Bell Stayed Rung,” by Dave Mc Kenna for Deadspin (“in all the coverage of the NFL and concussions, I don’t think anything else quite fused of the joys and the horrors of football”). Mlotek’s essay explores how she has made a transition from merely a beloved writer to an easy shorthand for a certain type of literary importance. But Kiese Laymon’s essay helped me better understand a few things I’m pretty ignorant about—the appeal of football and the lived experience of racism in the south—in expansive detail.

It’s highly personal but also universal and relevant to contentious issues of the moment, which means it’s hitting on all levels that a great essay should.

choices between American Girl identities (were you a Molly? The cruelty and the magnificence of it are inextricable.

She writes about “the grace of my parents, for whom exposing me to brutal stories was an act of love.” Stories can be transposed; every word here evolves the question forward.

I love Eat, Pray, Love and have since I first read it.

That said, I’ve always recognized that the book is the kind of travel narrative expected from women and wealthy, generally white women at that.

In her essay, Crispin is incisive and provocative, particularly in examining the notion that women can only be experts on themselves.

This essay, frankly, made me uncomfortable, but I appreciated that discomfort and expanding my thinking.

In light of that fact—and it is a fact; I have been conscious ever since childhood that one day I’d have to sacrifice autonomy for family or the other way around—the messages stuffed down women’s throats seem almost callously optimistic. Her writing has appeared in A Public Space, Mc Sweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, West Branch, Virginia Quarterly Review, NOON, The New York Times Book Review, and Bookforum, among many others.

The way Claudia Rankine writes about race so plainly and with such profundity and grace overwhelms me.


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