Reviews: 2/19-2/25

Black Fortunes
by Shomari Wills

This was a fascinating look into history from the ending of slavery through the early 1900s. It covers six people who became the first Black millionaires. We follow along the story of Robert Reed Church, who built Beale Street from the ground up. Then to Mary Pleasant, who helped grow a bustling San Francisco. It also doesn’t shy away from the racism they faced, being rich and Black in a very openly racist time (we delude ourselves now in thinking it’s less overt than it was then).

I highly recommend it to anyone interested in American history and Black history. It’s a very easy read that flows well into each story.

Meet Cute
by a whole slew of authors

Meet Cute is simply adorable. Every time I finished a story, I had to close the book and *squee* a while before starting the next one. I think I liked almost every one of them except one (the Click date one was one of my top faves). And, we ought to get down to what I didn’t like about it.

I’d look up the name of the story, but I’m a little too lazy to do that. Anyway, it’s the story where a trans girl meets a closeted lesbian and they begin a tentative, but sweet relationship. EXCEPT. Closet lesbian is from a family/church who thinks our trans gal shouldn’t be allowed changing rights to change in the girls locker room. And somehow this is all blown over because she’s secretly gay so it’s all OK. I hate this trope with a passion, this idea that people aren’t really hateful, they’re just closeted and need someone to convince them to come out. Having her really honestly be OK with trans girl and only following her family’s orders doesn’t fix the actual damage done, nor does it make any sense for her to be instantly forgiven.

Anyway, that’s what pissed off this queer. It wasn’t enough to make me hate the rest of the stories, since they are all by different writers, but it’s still bugging me now, so that’s fair warning. If you skip it, you’ll really lose nothing.

The Sea Beast Takes a Lover
by Michael Andreasen

I don’t even know what to say about this collection. In a good way. Each story is so vastly different from the other, it’s hard to give an overall thought on the book except for get this book. I guarantee there’ll be at least one story you’ll love, probably more. Each story plays with your expectation of what the setting is: an old ship had a big-screen TV and a sailor who listens to hip-hop; a king lives out of a motel; saints suddenly appear in an old Victorian mansion; a girl goes through life headless. The list goes on.

One of my favorite stories was the Saints in the Parlor, not only for the creative naming of the saints, but for the sheer humanity placed into each one. These saints were people and still are people, even in their holiness with their relics they possess. The final story, Blunderbuss, questions the validity of time travel while a time machine wreaks havoc among a field trip of third graders. It’s a fitting end to a book full of questions.

I thank Dutton Books for the advanced readers copy. All opinions are my honest own.

About Fleet Sparrow

Writer, Reader, Critic, Bear.
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