Here for It: Or, How To Save Your Soul in America; Essays

Random. Feb. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9780525621034. $26. MEMOIR
Alternately hilarious, touching, reflective, and insightful, this memoir will delight readers, who may find themselves reading sections of the book aloud to anyone within earshot. Thomas, author of the daily humor column “Eric Reads the News” and host of The Moth, has substantial storytelling skills as a playwright, journalist, and humorist. Here, in his first book of essays, Thomas shares stories about his experiences as a gay black Christian man searching for social and spiritual community. Thomas addresses topics as varied as attending an elite private (and mostly white) high school, black hair and the overwhelming hetero-masculinity of many black barbershops, a possibly satanic Elf on the Shelf doll, and anxiously surveilling his university’s club for queer and questioning students. Highlights include a funny retelling of the author’s experience babysitting in an isolated mansion for kids who might be urine-obsessed class warriors and a poignant reflection on one of his fellow high school students’ friendship and life. Readers are carried lightly but persistently along the current of Thomas’s writing and may find they finish the book in just one or two sittings.
VERDICT A laugh-out-loud memoir that is strongly recommended for everyone.
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