Bigger Than Bravery: Black Resilience and Reclamation in a Time of Pandemic

Lookout Bks. Nov. 2022. 256p. ed. by Valerie Boyd. ISBN 9781940596471. pap. $18.95. LIT
This is an indomitable collection of Black voices speaking their COVID pandemic experiences into life through their art. Each story has a different path to share, which outline the unique struggles and joys of being a Black person in America, especially during the years 2020 and 2021. Their paths join together in intricate ways to comprise a map of ancestral knowledge, revelatory insight, and feelings laid bare. It is nearly impossible to read this volume and not feel emotional about the contributors’ first months in quarantine, their reaction to the George Floyd protests, and the reworking of their lives in a new world. The book proves that there is magic in rejecting the universality of a single yearlong experience and instead grappling with what made each person’s pandemic life uniquely complicated and heartbreaking. Many books are one-way conversations, but in many ways, readers will be able to hear the authors trying to reach out through the page and create connection.
VERDICT These pages share poems of hope, narratives of loss, anger, fear, loneliness, togetherness, death, and most potently, life, all to paint a portrait of Black resilience and reclamation resonant to all.
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