Men We Reaped: A Memoir

( 4 )

Overview

Universally praised, Jesmyn Ward's Men We Reaped confirmed her ascendancy as a writer of both fiction and nonfiction, her Southern requiem securing its place on bestseller and best books of the year lists, with honors and awards pouring in from around the country.

Jesmyn's memoir shines a light on the community she comes from, in the small town of DeLisle, Mississippi, a place of quiet beauty and fierce attachment. Here, in the space of four years, she lost five young men dear ...

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Men We Reaped: A Memoir

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Overview

Universally praised, Jesmyn Ward's Men We Reaped confirmed her ascendancy as a writer of both fiction and nonfiction, her Southern requiem securing its place on bestseller and best books of the year lists, with honors and awards pouring in from around the country.

Jesmyn's memoir shines a light on the community she comes from, in the small town of DeLisle, Mississippi, a place of quiet beauty and fierce attachment. Here, in the space of four years, she lost five young men dear to her, including her beloved brother-lost to drugs, accidents, murder, and suicide. Their deaths were seemingly unconnected, yet their lives had been connected, by identity and place, and as Jesmyn dealt with these losses, she came to a staggering truth: These young men died because of who they were and the place they were from, because certain disadvantages breed a certain kind of bad luck. Because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle. The agonizing reality commanded Jesmyn to write, at last, their true stories and her own.

Men We Reaped opens up a parallel universe, yet it points to problems whose roots are woven into the soil under all our feet. This indispensable American memoir is destined to become a classic.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

It was the death of her 19-year-old brother at the hands of a drunken driver that inspired Jesmyn West to become a writer. Unfortunately, that spur was not the only tragic loss of a young black man from her Mississippi hometown that affected her life. In this insightful, beautifully written memoir, she pays poignant tribute to five "men we reaped." The first nonfiction work by the 2011 National Book Award winner.

From the Publisher
"An important, and perhaps even essential, book." —San Francisco Chronicle

"[Ward] chronicles our American story in language that is raw, beautiful and dangerous… [Her] singular voice and her full embrace of her anger and sorrow set this work apart from those that have trodden similar ground." —The New York Times Book Review

"Heart-wrenching… A brilliant book about beauty and death… at once a coming-of-age story and a kind of mourning song… filled [with] intimate and familial moments, each described with the passion and precision of the polished novelist Ward has become… Ward is one of those rare writers who’s traveled across America’s deepening class rift with her sense of truth intact." —Los Angeles Times

"A memoir that is as searing as her fiction, as poignant and as timely... in a country that is supposed to be post racial but still seems hell-bent on the epidemic destruction of young black men." —Edwidge Danticat, The Progressive

Library Journal
09/01/2013
National Book Award-winning novelist Ward (Salvage the Bones) recently mourned the death of five young men in four years. Accidents, drugs, or suicide claimed her brother, a cousin, and three friends. Her moving memoir details her relationships with the dead men and associates their deaths with the dismal existence experienced by many Southern black men. She explores how a history of racism, economic inequality, and lapsed personal responsibility continues to fester within portions of this population. As Ward details her loss and her family's life in Louisiana and Mississippi, she tries to understand why her brother died and digs deep within her heart and mind to discover why this is her story to tell. Through Ward's narrative, readers come to know her own struggles as the only black female in a private high school and as a budding writer finding her place in the world. VERDICT Ward's candid account is full of sadness and hope that takes readers out of their comfort zone and proves that education and hard work are the way up for the young and downtrodden. [See Prepub Alert, 3/11/13.]—Joyce Sparrow, Kenneth City, FL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608197651
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 9/16/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 156,637
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.19 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Jesmyn Ward received her M.F.A. from the University of Michigan and is currently an assistant professor of creative writing at Tulane University. She is the author of the novels Where the Line Bleeds and Salvage the Bones, the latter of which won the 2011 National Book Award and was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Ward grew up in DeLisle, Mississippi, and lives there now.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Jesmyn Ward writes a powerful story. She tells of the losses (on

    Jesmyn Ward writes a powerful story. She tells of the losses (one after another) of relatives and friends. The 5 men she accounts for are all from poverty. Some are drug addicts. She does a fine job describing her loss and theorizing why is wasn't just bad luck that these losses occurred. I applaud Ms. Ward on a stunning memoir that will stick with me for a long time.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    She very vividly presents her community. But as someone who liv

    She very vividly presents her community. But as someone who lives in MS and works in an alternative school where young black men are the majority of our students, I question her analysis that the deaths of the 3 black young men (I haven't finished the entire book yet) are primarily the result of the racist environment they inhabit. Children learn what they live and it's next to impossible to replace that learning with something else when they are older. In our program we find that if students get clean and sober, most of the other obstacles they face become manageable. In MS if you do some type of forced intervention with these very troubled young men, you're racist with no regard for their culture and if you don't try to intervene you're part of a racist system that just doesn't care about them.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2013

    Immerse yourself in another world

    Ms. Ward has done an amazing job of eloquently presenting her world, the world in which young people full of potential lose hope and lose their lives because not much has changed in terms of the way that African American, and specifically poor African American men and women are treated in the South. Immersive, powerful, gripping, and highly recommended. Ms. Ward, I HEAR YOU. Amazing. Leave your cynicism behind and allow the power of this work to speak to you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2013

    DISTRICT 1 REAPING

    Put age, name, looks, and talents here for reaping))

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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