Sufferah: The Memoir of a Brixton Reggae-Head

Akashic. Jul. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9781636140933. $26.95. MEMOIR
As a child, award-winning novelist Wheatle (Brixton Rock) was abandoned by his Jamaican immigrant parents and turned over to the British government. Wheatle’s memoir of growing up in Brixton, England, shares his story of abuse and racism in the British foster care system, his incarceration after participating in the 1981 Brixton uprising against racial injustice, and his search for family and purpose. Through everything, he found refuge from the biggest names in reggae music. With more than 40 short chapters, the book brings readers along as artists such as Bob Marley, Sister Nancy, Dennis Brown, and others educate a young Black man about racial injustice and provide a lifeline when he felt at his lowest. Wheatle also finds family in his prison cellmate, who guides him towards a greater purpose, and he turns his life around using the music he loves and by tapping into his writing skills. The inspiration for Wheatle’s fiction is apparent throughout his memoir, where he vividly and gracefully connects his own experiences to those of his characters.
VERDICT Readers will be drawn to Wheatle’s exquisite prose, and lovers of music will appreciate how reggae brings light during difficult times.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing