New People

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 May 2019

Member Reviews

I would write a review of my own, but Roxane Gay's Goodreads review says everything I could say and does it better. In short, this is an interesting book, a good book, but not anything that feels like a complete novel. I am comfortable with messy endings, but this simply leaves too much undeveloped and unresolved. That being said, it's still a solid book for someone who wants to explore racial identity and the power of the choices we might have made.
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The hype for this might have been too much to live up to, but I wasn't interested in it once I started reading it.
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This was such a quirky complex read. I read this book sometime over the summer, and am just now getting around to writing a review. I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley, but also purchased and listened to the audiobook version of this book for the Fros and Prose Book Club.

 

I can't say that this book was delightful, but it's certainly a thought provoking read, and a book that is certain to spark conversation about identity, sexuality, and colorism. Maria is caught between so many mixed feelings, it's hard to ascertain what she really wants. She's engaged to be married to Khalil. He's biracial, like herself, and she imagines beautiful tanned babies who, she thinks, will serve as the antidote to racism. And though she imagines this life with Khalil will be easy and paved with a curated black version of an upper middle class white life, she longs for former sexcapades with her white lover from college - a lover that she  treated with deep contempt, and a mysterious dread loc'd poet who barely acknowledges her. Maria is angry, jealous, elitist, and self hating...she had so many conflicting emotions, it was difficult to keep up. The book is short enough and the writing strong enough to pull you to the end, but this is a rather frustrating book. I do think the topics explored are necessary, and I always welcome another point of view, especially when it doesn't mirror my own.
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I didn't feel particularly adequate in reviewing this book as I felt I didn't grasp all the layers and ?satire. See the link to my blog below for my review.
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NEW PEOPLE by Danzy Senna is a novel about Maria and her fiancee Khalil, they are the "new people"," biracial  post college graduates who are a trendy biracial couple. Maria is questioning her relationship with Khalil and her life as a biracial female when she begins obsessing about The Poet, a darker skinned writer who seems to be the essence of blackness, the very thing Khalil and Maria are lacking.. 

It's a book about unlikable characters who make wrong choices. Maria is difficult to understand and many of her antics are just plain unbelievable. 

It is an excellent commentary on being bi-racial in modern America;  interesting to persons of any race.  I recommend this book mostly because of the insights and because it is a quick read.
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Did you every feel like you were reading an entirely different book than the rest of the people who have reviewed it? That's how I feel about this book.  I had a really hard time getting into this book and then about a hundred pages in I just didn't care.  I didn't like Maria, there were parts that just weren't believable and I just found myself wanting it to end.  I haven't read any of Senna's other books but they have all gotten rave reviews from different news publications.  I felt the same way about Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides I hated it but the reviews were stellar and the praise non-stop I almost felt like I had to like it. I feel the same way about this book.

Maria was just not likeable and while some of the talk about race and multi-racial identity was on point the overall feel of the book was just dreary.  I found my mind wandering, and had a really hard time relating to any of the characters.  Other than Maria I found the characters one dimensional and Maria was just not very likeable. 

When I read the synopsis of this book I was excited to read it but the story just fell flat and left me wanting.
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New People is ripe for studying in an undergrad race politics class and since it's an engaging, quick read, students will actually want to dissect it! I found the juxtaposition of the main character's reflections on race in 90s Brooklyn with her dissertation on the Jonestown cult fascinating.  There are so many details that deserve to be slowly absorbed, yet I read through the book in a couple of days. Recommended for a #woke book club.
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I keep getting a URL not valid error message, so here's my (valid--I think!) URL https://lowereastsidelibrarian.info/reviews/senna/newpeople
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