Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Men We Reaped by Jessmyn Ward

Product DetailsI read this one for my popsugar reading challenge  task author discovered from last years challenge.   Last year I read Salvage the Bones and I loved it.   Jessmyn Ward is a beautiful writer with a true prose to her style.   This book turned personal - a memoir - and things went very awry.

I have never read such cloying self-loathing and   blame.   The author would say that this is my white privilege talking but  this is not the case.  Rather it is a direct result of her denial and victimology   The willingness of so many to just cast away their responsibility for their own lives is simply  disgusting in my opinion.

Yes,  I understand how poverty impacts families and individuals.  I work at a Title 1 school - that is my life every day.  I'm there to give these children the one tool that will open the door of opprotunity - an education.    No one can choose where they are born or to which parents, but we can and DO choose whether to get blackout drunk on a nighty basis.  Or to use heroin.  Or to associate with drug dealers and known felons.   Every day each one of us makes choices about the life we live and each day we face the consequences of these choices.

This book is the story of her life.  Sad and pathetic.   It is the cummulative excuses that she gives for the deaths of the males in her family. My father grew up dirt poor- farmed out by his family to other families in his church becasue they couldn't raise him until finally his grandparents took him in.   He worked in the open hearth of the steel mill throughout highschool and had zero prospects.  But he worked hard, he applied himself, he got an education, he joined the military and he found a way out.  He didn't blame his father's acolholism or the domestic abuse in his family.  He pulled himself up and took responsibility for his own life.

On the other hand,  I just had a cousin die of heroin over dose.  Jolly boy - everyone loved him an dhe was always ready to party.  His life was certainly a tragedy but he blamed others for that tragedy - his weak father, his complete disaster of a stepmother,  his own mother... the list goes one.  But the truth is, he never worked  hard, he never applied himself and he never found his way out until it eventually came with a needle.

I hated every minute of this book  I have no time for weakness.  I gave it 1 out of 5 stars though I still say that the author is very talented.  I hope she gets a grip on her flagrant alcoholism  and continues to write more books like Salvge the Bones.


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I couldn't even finish this one when I tried a year ago.