Cover Image: The Dead Don't Need Reminding

The Dead Don't Need Reminding

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Member Reviews

This is an eclectic essay collection written by a young black man trying to make sense of the world he was born into, and obtain answers to longstanding questions surrounding his family, identity, and himself. His search is an odyssey in itself as he sinks into bouts of depression as he grapples with racism, his bi-sexual identity, and the need to belong. The essays are deeply personal; he shares vulnerabilities that are utterly heartbreaking, and humourous/awkward situations from childhood that are at times borderline embarrassing, but relatable in many aspects. The focus of the collection surrounds his great-grandfather’s decision to pass and prosper (for a while) as a white man living and working amongst the Whites in Water Valley, Mississippi. Once discovered, he was confronted by the town’s bigots, only having hours to flee with wife and child (the author’s grandmother) in tow.

Many of the essays intersperse pop culture (rap songs, movie and television series and specific scenes) with episodes of his life where he gains clarity or pivotal life-changing moments leading to an epiphany of sorts. The references are culturally and generationally aligned; so while I could not relate to specific artists, musical lyrics, celebrities (and their infamous antics or outbursts), I understood the significance and impact on him and his viewpoints based on inference and his narrative. I think this could be an impactful offering for someone who has a similar journey or challenges.

Thanks to the publisher, PublicAffairs | Bold Type Books, and NetGalley for an opportunity to review.

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Julian wrote such a fantastic book about tracing his roots in Mississippi. Such a powerful history about how his grandfather had a good business since he could pass as a White male. Once the town finds out that he really is African American everything changes. He has to leave town or else. Julian writes about his life in college and being accepted by others. I believe that many young college readers will be able to identify with Julian and hope that they will enjoy the book as much as I have.

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The Dead Don't Need Reminding was stellar! I had attended a talk by Julian Randall and they read portions and explained their life in such a way that I absolutely had to read this. It's so well-written and poetic and you can feel the emotion fully. I highly recommend reading it. And we will be buying some for the library's collection.

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A lot of the pop culture references mentioned, I am not familiar with and it rally impacted my reading experience.

Thanks to Julian Randall, PublicAffairs - Bold Type Books and NetGalley for the ARC and the opportunity to read and review this title.

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