Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now: Essays

Two Dollar Radio. Nov. 2019. 172p. ISBN 9781937512835. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781937512842. LIT
In this debut essay collection from Perry (cofounder Mission Creek Festival), subjects range from San Francisco to Iowa City to Hong Kong, with some pieces taking the form of a screenplay, a test with sample answers, and letters. Perry examines the hypocrisy of liberal cities such as San Francisco that proclaim their diversity yet show distinct signs of segregation by class, race, ethnicity, and sexuality. A musician himself, the author goes in search of the underground music scene, considers creativity and art, and attempts to make sense of white appropriation of black culture. Often the only person of color in the room, especially in Iowa City, Perry feels he can never blend in, as someone always makes a point to remind him of the color of his skin. During the period covered by these writings, Perry drinks excessively to escape. He also uses the “n” word across several pieces, exploring its meaning, who can and can’t use it, and why. All of this is discomforting at times, but careful readers will take time to reflect and perhaps gain new awareness and understanding.
VERDICT The strong writing, creative genre use, and authentic voice add up to some high-impact essays.

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