Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson
Publication Date: February 2017
My Rating: ✹✹✹✹✹
“Jade believes she must get out of her poor neighbourhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother tells her to take advantage of every opportunity that comes her way. And Jade has: every day she rides the bus away from her friends and to the private school where she feels like an outsider, but where she has plenty of opportunities. But some opportunities she doesn’t really welcome, like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls.
Just because her mentor is black and graduated from the same high school doesn’t mean she understands where Jade is coming from. She’s tired of being singled out as someone who needs help, someone people want to fix. Jade wants to speak, to create, to express her joys and sorrows, her pain and her hope. Maybe there are some things she could show other women about understanding the world and finding ways to be real, to make a difference.“
“Makes me feel like no matter how dressed up we are, no matter how respectful we are, some people will only see what they want to see.”
This book, which was released during Black History Month, is an extremely important and moving read. It’s a fairly quiet book that centres around everyday the micro aggressions that the main character, Jade, faces. Whilst it doesn’t pack a punch like The Hate U Give, it does bring up issues that are often overlooked in books about young, black teenagers. Such as reconciling privilege, advocating for racism as a bystander and voicing injustices.
One thing that stood out was that this book is less about the relations between black people and white people, and more about the class issues within race. Watson shows various divides along wealth and class lines within race and how this affects relationships between wealthy and poor black women, whilst showing how racial divides affect the relationship between Jade and her equally poor white friend.
There are a lot of other heavy subjects dealt with in this book, like the beauty standards forced upon us, identity, friendships and self worth. Whilst using various forms of expression such as art and poetry.
This book made me stop and think. It taught me a lot and I was made to consider the world from a totally different view point. It left me inspired.
It was a great coming of age story. A very well deserved 4.5 stars, and I would highly recommended for YA contempory fans.
About The Author:
Renée Watson is a New York Times Bestselling author, educator, and activist. Her young adult novel, Piecing Me Together received a Coretta Scott King Award and Newbery Honor. Her children’s picture books and novels for teens have received several awards and international recognition. She has given readings and lectures at many renown places including the United Nations, the Library of Congress, and the U.S. Embassy in Japan. The New York Times calls Renée’s writing, “charming and evocative.” Her poetry and fiction often centres around the lived experiences of black girls and women, and explores themes of home, identity, and the intersections of race, class, and gender.