Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson is a book that resonated in my soul sending reverberations throughout my entire body. This is a book that I will read again and again, because I know I missed so much in the initial read. It left me pondering race and the meaning of identity. And because I allowed it, I began to question my place in all of it.
It’s LOL Funny
It’s easier not to question, however. It is much easier to see the funny bits. I laughed out loud so many times that my cheeks burned and my belly ached – in a good way. Who wouldn’t after the description of the Birchie and Wattie more than slightly annoyed at the nuances of contemporary worship? II have had that same conversation many times. And like Birchie, I often find those “screens” a bit unnerving.
It’s Also Very Serious
If you allow yourself to dive deep, there is so much within these pages. It took me a full two days before I could form an opinion about it and even now, I am struggling to put into words my emotions about those concepts of motherhood, sisterhood, and even race.
As a woman of color, I am aware that my great-grandmother was a product of an interracial coupling/relationship/series of incidents – I am not quite sure what to call it. I know that it is not something that either she or my grandmother liked to talk about so I assume it wasn’t exactly a positive thing.
And as a mother of a black son, the thought of the Buddy Man walking down a street in a hoodie sends shivers up my spine and seeing a police car has been enough to send my blood pressure sky-rocketing in recent months.
But, It’s Needed
We live in a time that feels so very polarizing. “if you are not for us, you are against us.” Me vs. you; us vs. them; democrats vs. republicans; Christians vs. the world. One thing I loved about Almost Sisters is the hopefulness at the end. That togetherness of it all. We are all so very connected. Birchie and Wattie, Leia and Sel, and little Digby-not-Digby bringing it all full circle.
I longed for the closing scene at Birchie’s home, where Redemption and First Baptist gather together to be with Birchie and Wattie. And yes, it is true that some on each side didn’t stay once the other showed up but those that did were forming a community for a better tomorrow.
I like to think that we are doing that with our book club. Forming a better tomorrow by reading books that raise the questions, get us thinking, and more importantly, get us communicating. See you the Thursday after Thanksgiving, November 29 at 8:30 CST. Let’s get the conversation started.
For further reading, check out this article by Joshilyn Jackson pondering privilege, second chances and racial identity.