The Best American Essays 2022

Mariner: Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2022. 336p. ed. by Alexander Chee. ISBN 9780358658870. pap. $17.99. LIT
This compilation of powerful and well-crafted essays published in the last year were selected by award-winning novelist/essayist Chee (How To Write An Autobiographical Novel: Essays). This is a book that will make readers cry, think, then return later for more because like a good meal, these take some time to fully digest. Readers will get an intimate glimpse into the life of another person, and the view can be harsh. The authors in this collection write of losing loved ones, losing themselves, of family, love, bigotry, pilgrimage, addiction, and survival. Angelique Stevens writes about her relationship with her father who is loving and wants to be a good influence but drifts in and out of her life as he deals with addiction in “Ghost Bread.” In “What She Would Always and Should Always Be Doing,” Kaitlyn Greenidge describes being an awkward Black teen trying to augment her college resume and being cast in a racist play. Other essays reflect debates, such as “Among Men” by Calvin Gimplevich, who pairs his story of transition with an exploration of cultural expectations and gender.
VERDICT A great resource for high-school and college-age writers and anyone looking for a compelling read that lingers in the mind.
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