Choosing Family: A Memoir of Queer Motherhood and Black Resistance

Abrams. Feb. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9781419756177. $26. MEMOIR
Royster, a queer Black professor of English literature at DePaul Univ., details how she and her wife adopted and care for their daughter as an interracial couple in this reflective memoir. Royster (Sounding Like a No-No) and Annie, a white professor from the same Chicago university, dated for nine years before deciding to have a child in 2008. Four years and a series of discussions, trainings, and workshops later, the couple adopted Cece, a six-week-old Black baby girl. Over the next six years, Royster pondered how to raise Cece in a society where verbal and physical violence against Black, Brown, and LGBTQIA+ people are daily occurrences. The book’s lyrical chapters are written in the form of letters to Annie and Cece, in which Royster seamlessly intermixes stories of raising Cece with nostalgic tales of her own youth, relatives, and found family. Although direct encounters with racism and homophobia are more prevalent in her past, events such as the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, FL, bring back her fears of being a target.
VERDICT At times poignant, this memoir is an intimate look at the adoption process and life after adoption; will resonate with parents and guardians.
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