Book Review: BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and MeBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am not a fan of this book. I thought it was more contrived and pretentious than delivered from an authentic place. I read it over a year ago for a book club I host. For that reason I am sharing my discussion notes in lieu of an in depth review.

LaCelia Book Club
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
January 11, 2016 Discussion

Who is he speaking to?
Addressed to his son, but that sense is lost almost immediately – yes/no?

“Your body can be destroyed.” (p 9)
“Other worlds where children do not fear for their bodies.” (p 20) **Interesting use of body rather than life.

Felt wrong to comfort you…. this is your country, this is your world, this is your body you must find some way to live within all of it.

Howard University: only Mecca he will ever need. (p 39)

Doesn’t believe in “God”. Compares Christianity to Western civilization (“their god”). But uses faith-based terminology: belief, The Mecca, calls his son his god

The body as the ultimate expression of being and existence.

“…burning and looting as Christian charity.” (p 101)
– deep-seated hatred of Christianity
– deep seated fear of living free as he is

Spirit and soul as body and mind are destructible/perishable (p 103)

“Dreamers” should be “Destroyers”
We all have dreams, but we don’t all destroy others for our dreams. (p 111)

What is acting, talking, and being “white?” (p 111)

Mrs. Jordan’s words sum up my response to this book. (p 113)

A book suggestion that came up during our discussion was to read The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. I read it. I was able to see what Coates was attempting to do, but it clarified that Between the World and Me was more an attempt at mimicry than authenticity.

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