Growing Up Chicago

Northwestern Univ. May 2022. 280p. ed. by David Schaafsma & others. ISBN 9780810143685. pap. $22.95. LIT
Chicago’s diversity is highlighted in this collection of 23 coming-of-age stories, compiled by University of Illinois-Chicago literature scholars Schaafsma, Lauren DeJulio Bell, and Roxanne Pilat. The authors of these stories spent their formative years in and around the city. While each comes from a different background and the time periods of their stories differ, there are similarities within their work, with distinctive depictions of relationships with family and friends and attempts to build a community within a large city. Stories range from serious topics (sexual assault; white supremacy) to lighthearted ones (e.g., a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago). With her signature artwork, Emil Ferris illustrates the grittiness of Chicago and the complicated relationship between the police and the community in “Mothman.” There are also excerpts from Erika Sánchez’s I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed.
VERDICT With stories from Ana Castillo, Rebecca Makkai, James McManus, Nnedi Okorafor, George Saunders, and many others, this collection will please both longtime and new Chicagoans.
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