Teen Book Review: Between the World and Me

Library TakeoutTeens D.C.

Teen Book Review: Between the World and Me

Selam Weimer, Teen Council member, reflects on race relations and historical context while reading Ta-Nehisi Coates' book

Book review written by Selam Weimer, Teen Aide at Tenley-Friendship and Teen Council member since 2018. 

Between the World and Me
is Ta-Nehisi Coates’ open letter to his teenage son. Coate’s own story is woven in with the wisdom, guidance and discernment needed to navigate the double standards that come along with being black in America. He tells of the experiences of his youth that ingrained the systematic lies of his inadequacy and explores his growth in his young adult years at the “Mecca.” His poetic but raw reflections and internalizations expose how “the struggle” is a significant part of black people’s identities. 

Coates questions the assumption of “race” and exposes it as a social construct. He explores what it means to be black (and specifically a black man) in America and provides an authentic analysis of America’s history and present. His discoveries will resonate profusely, especially in this time where people are starting to dig deeper in their questions and are beginning to confront the brutal realities of the systematic oppression this country was built upon and still functions in. 

His consistent allusions to other historical figures reminds the reader that revelation does not occur in a vacuum. It is one of my favorite books. I’ve reread it multiple times and each time something different clicks in a new way. I personally think that it should be on every school’s literature list. So if you find yourself lost in the complexities of U.S. current events, read this book. It will shed light on the multiple dynamics of race relations and provide key insight on where this country is headed.