If you’re not already subscribed, I highly recommend R. Eric Thomas’s excellent newsletter. He’s funny, insightful, and rambly in a way that always circles back around to the point (or at least a point) in surprising ways. He’s a delight. So of course I had to read his book!
This collection of memoir-style essays (or essay-style memoirs?) was a bit more serious than I expected going in, but not at all in a bad way. Eric is a gay, black, christian writer who landed a job writing funny things about politics right before the 2016 election happened and everything stopped being funny. He writes about his struggles growing up, straddling different worlds as one of the few students of color at his Baltimore arts school, being not so much in the closet as profoundly unsure of all aspects of his life, exploring college, learning life skills by being a server at the Hard Rock Cafe, finding love, and much more.
Several of the chapters focus on really hard things: depression, racism, that heartless orange bastard who tried to ruin our country. I wouldn’t say it goes all the way to heart-breaking, but definitely the heart-bruising vicinity. But he’s always got that zing of perception and hope that makes you think that no matter what, it’s all going to be okay anyway, even if that “okay” isn’t always fantastic. “What if it doesn’t get better” every time, he says. “What if it just gets.” Sometimes just surviving is enough, and it’s always interesting to see what happens next! Not at all a bad lesson.
I’m not much of a memoir reader, and I’m not anywhere close to a christian, so some of it did drag for me a bit. However, even if it’s not always my subject matter, it’s always a treat to read Eric’s writing. Plus, I learned a lot about Whitney Houston and The Preacher’s Wife, so that was an unexpected bonus!