RCM Virtual Book Club Reads With the Fire on High
- Join us February 24 to discuss this month's book!
Here at RCM, we love books. We also love any opportunity participate in an awesome book club. So we decided to smoosh the two together and create the virtual Rocket City Mom Book Club! More info about our next title is below, and you can request to join the conversation here. Happy reading!
This month’s RCM Virtual Book Club title is With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. Join us virtually on Thursday, February 24 at 8:30 PM CST. If you can’t make it at THAT time, check back in throughout the week to keep the discussion going. Big thanks to The Snail On the Wall Books for sponsoring our title selections, and Shannan for her review below!
With the Fire on High Review
Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X was such a hit with the Rocket City Mom Virtual Book Club in April of last year, that I instantly decided that we should read her book about a mother entitled With the Fire on High. I was expecting a fun, quick read about a single mom and her passion for cooking. What I got was a thoughtful conversation about motherhood, race and identity and, of course, plenty of food.
Emoni is a very young mother struggling to finish high school and build a life for herself and her daughter. And until I read this story, I’m ashamed to say that I had never really taken the time to imagine what life must be like for a young single mother in those circumstances. Acevedo does an excellent job of presenting what that might look like, and how the odds can be stacked up against someone in her situation, ie: losing her job for requesting time off.
There’s an incident where Emoni gets caught at school on her cell phone and the administrators take it away. She then misses a call from her child’s daycare. The daycare center calls the father, who then calls his own mother to go pick up his child. Emoni asks “…Why I’m accused of being the irresponsible one but he’s so often excused from having to be as much of a father as I am a mother.” This is a question that I have often asked about motherhood and fatherhood.
I could relate when Emoni discusses the name that she gave her daughter: Emma. “The kind of name that doesn’t tell you too much before you meet her… at least it’ll give her a change to get in the room, to let other people realize she’s someone they want to learn more about.” That is one of the reasons my name is Shannan. My mother and father felt similarly. I have often wondered what my life would be like if I had a more ethnic name.
With the Fire on High includes recipes – I haven’t tried any but they’re delicious reads. She says, “Some days, when my feelings are like this, like a full pot of water with the fire on high…” Emoni cooks. It’s second nature to her and she instinctively knows what to do.
For the past two years, or a bit more, I feel like I have been “a full pot of water with the fire on high.” This pandemic and all that has happened in the world has me walking around with a pain in my chest. Emoni theorizes that “[s}ometimes focusing on what you can control is the only way to lessen the pang in your chest when you think about things you can’t.”
Reading is a way to shift my focus away from things that I can’t control and With the Fire on High was a tasty diversion.
It’s not too late to pick up your copy from our book club sponsor, Snail on the Wall and I can’t wait to discuss it with you on Thursday, February 24 at 8:30 PM CT. See you there!
Let’s discuss With the Fire on High in our Virtual Book Club Facebook page on Thursday, February 24 at 8:30 PM CT. See you there!
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Shannan Moore Malone squeezes in the time to write while taking care of the Buddy Man. As you already know, she loves books but she also loves great movies, running, and is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, a foodie. Though generally more on the quiet side, you can get her talking by mentioning living authentically, the importance of clarity and organization, and enjoying life, which she occasionally writes about on her blog her blog and posts about on Instagram.