Breathe: Book summary and reviews of Breathe by Imani Perry

Breathe

A Letter to My Sons

by Imani Perry

Breathe by Imani Perry X
Breathe by Imani Perry
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2019
    184 pages
    Genre: Short Stories/Essays

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Book Summary

Explores the terror, grace, and beauty of coming of age as a Black person in contemporary America and what it means to parent our children in a persistently unjust world.

Emotionally raw and deeply reflective, Imani Perry issues an unflinching challenge to society to see Black children as deserving of humanity. She admits fear and frustration for her African American sons in a society that is increasingly racist and at times seems irredeemable. However, as a mother, feminist, writer, and intellectual, Perry offers an unfettered expression of love--finding beauty and possibility in life--and she exhorts her children and their peers to find the courage to chart their own paths and find steady footing and inspiration in Black tradition.

Perry draws upon the ideas of figures such as James Baldwin, W. E. B. DuBois, Emily Dickinson, Toni Morrison, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Ida B. Wells. She shares vulnerabilities and insight from her own life and from encounters in places as varied as the West Side of Chicago; Birmingham, Alabama; and New England prep schools.

With original art for the cover by Ekua Holmes, Breathe offers a broader meditation on race, gender, and the meaning of a life well lived and is also an unforgettable lesson in Black resistance and resilience.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A masterfully poetic and intimate work that anchors mothering within the long-standing tradition of black resistance and resourcefulness." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"This mother's striking and generous admonition to thrive even in the face of white mendacity also is a meditation on parenting. Reflective insights about injustice adjoin a few visceral apologies about every responsible parent's regrets, which might remind parents of the divide between 'the deed of giving life' and 'the social consequence of the deed.'" - Booklist (starred review)

"Deeply cathartic and resonant for parents attempting to raise their children with intention and integrity. Imani Perry shows deep compassion for both parents and children...while incisively underlining the realities of raising Black boys in a country that will inherently betray them. It is a book filled with love and insight for difficult times." - Tarana Burke

"One feels that Perry had to write her other five books to write this one, the smallest and ironically the most rigorous, personal, and soulful of all of her genius work. Breathe is the first book I've ever needed to read out loud with my mother." - Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: Am American Memoir

The information about Breathe shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Imani Perry

Imani Perry is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, where she also teaches in the Programs in Law and Public Affairs, and in Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is a native of Birmingham, Alabama, and spent much of her youth in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Chicago. She is the author of several books, including Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry. She lives outside Philadelphia with her two sons, Freeman Diallo Perry Rabb and Issa Garner Rabb.

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