Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book truly took my breath away. It’s an artistic masterpiece that may be rethink how I interpret things. I went into this book extremely excited to be reading an ownvoices book with a black MC. And honestly, I couldn't get over how authentic and lyrical this voice sounds.
Our main protagonist, Jade is a student at a mostly white high school, who is living in a suburb of Portland and all she wants to do is succeed and travel and be able to express herself in art. She’s accepted the scholarships that come her way, and applied herself to SAT prep, all the usual. Her single mother and her live in a “bad” or impoverished neighborhood and so her school counselor considers her “at risk” so she suggests a Women to Women mentorship program.
Covering issues of race, discrimination,art, friendship, and feminism this book opens your eyes to different environments and how they affect who lives there. I just honestly can’t get over how wide-spanning this book it, and how much it meant for me to be able to read it!
The female friendships in this story were so solid, that I wanted Jade to come over here and be my friend. Although there are many struggles with communication, at the end Jade learns to speak up for herself so that the others can understand what she’s feeling in response to the things that are happening around her. Happily, I noticed an immediate undertone of feminism, for how Jade act day-to-day and what the mentorship program was teaching her.
Also, there was a lot of components mentioned about identify. I believe that Jade mentions herself a “thick” person, and how she doesn’t see herself represented in media that often. There are fat-positive messages that are in play here, and I could really appreciate that because I know that there’s a need for more of these types of narratives.
I came to truly root for her as a character, I wanted her to be a successful artist that loved making her black art while still helping support her mother. I came to admire her strength in the face of micro-aggression and oppression that she faced on a daily basis. I came to love her creativity and deep insight into the collages and art that she created. Basically, I fell in love with Jade and I feel like she is a character that will stay close in my mind.
There are no words to describe the reading experience of this book, except when you truly step into someone else's shoes and look through their glasses, you feel that type of life-changing empathy that in turn changes you.
**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinion are my own.**
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