Book Review: The Black Notebooks

The Black Notebooks: An Interior JourneyI recently read The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey by Toi Derricotte.

This is a courageous book that resists all silence to tell the truth, nuanced, painful, and without resolution, about race and racism. “If this book has any purpose,” Derricotte writes, “it’s to show the persistence of internal conflicts, of longing, shame, and terror. It represents a twenty-year obsession to observe myself when these feelings arise, rather than to deny or repress them. I have found that there is no cure. Perhaps awareness can give us a second to contain, so that we do not pass these damages on to others.” Her unflinching observations of her own experiences, thoughts, and feelings, allow the reader to see the conflict within her/himself, and to act and reflect with that greater awareness she seeks. I would recommend this to anybody black or white.


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