Punch Me Up to the Gods

Houghton Harcourt. May 2021. 256p. ISBN 9780358439103. $26. MEMOIR
Broome (Writing Program, Univ. of Pittsburgh) has written a compelling memoir bursting at the seams with raw power. From the first line—“Whatever it was, I already knew by 10 years old that I didn’t have it”—Broome asserts his unique voice in this account of his growing up Black in Ohio, struggling with his sexuality, clashing with his parents, and finding his way in the world, one event at a time. Broome is a debut author, but you wouldn’t know it by his writing. He commands his story and readers’ attention in a way that will have them laughing, crying, and screaming along with him as he reflects on his childhood and navigates his adulthood as a gay Black man in the United States. His writing is moving, especially when telling the story of his parents’ difficult relationship, which in turn affected Broome’s relationship with them.
VERDICT Cleverly framed around Gwendolyn Brooks’s poem “We Real Cool,” Punch Me Up to the Gods is an exquisite and important memoir that will sit proudly among the likes of Kiese Laymon’s Heavy and Darnell L. Moore’s No Ashes in the Fire.
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