I'm one of those people who still buys paper books, but I downloaded the Audible version of Julie Lythcott-Haims', Real American, in order to cram before an event with her. As soon as I arrived at the reading, picked up one of the hardcovers and started flipping through the pages, I realized I had made a terrible mistake in consuming her words sight unseen. Her memoir is prose poetry, literally.
Lythcott-Haims guides the reader through the wide, justified margins and the line breaks of her life as a the only child of a marriage between an African American father and a white British mother. Her family lives in New York, Wisconsin, and Northern Virginia, seemingly achieving the American dream, but Lythcott-Haims explores the price of the ascension. She delivers a biting account of how all of the tiny cuts of injustice can leave a gaping scar, and how a sense of community can lead to healing and self-acceptance. Real American is a powerful examination of race, identity, and citizenship that leaves you with hope for our nation's possibility. For anyone who needs a break from the false narratives and the vitriol that plagues our current discourse, Lythcott-Haims’ truth telling is breathtakingly beautiful.