A Drop of Midnight
World-renowned hip-hop artist Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité’s vivid and intimate journey through his own and his family’s history—from South Carolina slavery to twenty-first-century Sweden.Born to interracial American parents in Sweden, Jason Diakité grew up between worlds—part Swedish, American, black, white, Cherokee, Slovak, and German, riding a delicate cultural and racial divide. It was a no-man’s-land that left him in constant search of self. Even after his hip-hop career took off, Jason fought to unify a complex system of family roots that branched across continents, ethnicities, classes, colors, and eras to find a sense of belonging.In A Drop of Midnight, Jason draws on conversations with his parents, personal experiences, long-lost letters, and pilgrimages to South Carolina and New York to paint a vivid picture of race, discrimination, family, and ambition. His ancestors’ origins as slaves in the antebellum South, his parents’ struggles as an interracial couple, and his own world-expanding connection to hip-hop helped him fashion a strong black identity in Sweden.What unfolds in Jason’s remarkable voyage of discovery is a complex and unflinching look at not only his own history but also that of generations affected by the trauma of the African diaspora, then and now.

A Drop of Midnight Details

TitleA Drop of Midnight
Author
ReleaseMar 1st, 2020
PublisherAmazon Crossing
ISBN-139781542017077
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography, Music, Biography Memoir

A Drop of Midnight Review

  • Hope
    January 1, 1970
    Powerful, visceral, engaging.This was one of those ‘universes aligning’ things...when an old white woman stumbles across a book by a young Black Swedish rapper, and even more improbably, is intrigued and decides to read it. And pretty much read it straight through without stopping. This is a strong, raw, urgent book. I have been moved - perhaps changed - by it. And I will be pondering those things for some time to come. I might even listen to some Swedish rap.
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  • Kela Calvin
    January 1, 1970
    Liberating!!!I loved this memoir!!! I usually don't read memoirs, but this piqued my interest. The loved how the author was able to trace his family lineage through travels, interviews and conversation with family. Through his life experiences, he has learned to embrace his ethnic backgrounds and skin color. This novel was truly unique. Great read!!!
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  • Nick Carey
    January 1, 1970
    UnsatisfactoryI began this book hoping to learn about the mixed heritage of the author. It became a book I had to force myself to finish. The author almost completely ignored his Slovak and Cherokee heritage - he seems to only want to focus on his black forebears. He describes their experiences ,but they are theirs, not his. Throughout, there was a self-pitying attitude, and a coldness that made it difficult to feel any rapport with the author. He is very critical of others, but tolerant of UnsatisfactoryI began this book hoping to learn about the mixed heritage of the author. It became a book I had to force myself to finish. The author almost completely ignored his Slovak and Cherokee heritage - he seems to only want to focus on his black forebears. He describes their experiences ,but they are theirs, not his. Throughout, there was a self-pitying attitude, and a coldness that made it difficult to feel any rapport with the author. He is very critical of others, but tolerant of himself. His descriptions of his road trips to the US deliver occasional insights. There is a fair amount of name-dropping of authors and activists.
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  • Devi
    January 1, 1970
    In 1999 when I was living in Helsinki I discovered Timbuktu via another a Swedish rapper Petter. I was so blown away by Petter’s song Mikrofonkåt that was played every hour. Once he was interviewing this other rapper, Blues, in English about hip hop in Scandinavia. Blues sounded like any Black guy you’d meet in America. Petter him to show off his freestyle skills and dude says he’ll have to do it in his mother tongue, Swedish. It was amazing and how I was first introduced to Svensk hip hop. But In 1999 when I was living in Helsinki I discovered Timbuktu via another a Swedish rapper Petter. I was so blown away by Petter’s song Mikrofonkåt that was played every hour. Once he was interviewing this other rapper, Blues, in English about hip hop in Scandinavia. Blues sounded like any Black guy you’d meet in America. Petter him to show off his freestyle skills and dude says he’ll have to do it in his mother tongue, Swedish. It was amazing and how I was first introduced to Svensk hip hop. But really, now, one of my top three rappers is Timbuktu (the others France’s MC Solaar and Brooklyn’s Mos Def). He raps in Swedish so there is a language barrier (I studied some Swedish in Finland and later in Milwaukee), but that doesn’t bother me much. Flow is flow is flow is flow. If it’s done this well I like to believe it needs no translation. It’s universal. Timbuktu’s a true master. I was taken aback during my first trip to Sweden. Strangers always started with speaking Swedish with instead of assuming (correctly, yes, but still...) that I speak English. When your black in Europe this is the default. Then I soon noticed that biracial people weren’t that rare. (I’d really like to see Trump’s face if he were in any Nordic country and encountered a some black Norwegians, etc) Far more than I ever saw while living in Finland and Iceland and the US. Well, at least Milwaukee, which is well known as the most segregated city in the country. So for the last twenty years, I’ve wondered what it must be like growing up black/biracial in Sweden. And for the past twenty years I’ve been a fan of Timbuktu but I didn’t know he was biracial until I heard an interview with him on a popular Norwegian Skvlan’s show on YouTube a couple years ago. I could make out in that interview that both of his parent were American and one was white and the other black. I wasn’t too sure of much past that, but I did understand that they were talking about a book! How I wished my Swedish was good enough to read it. Well, by some crazy stroke of luck for me the book got translated into English and published early this month! I preordered that puppy the first day I could! I won’t lie, I was a bit worried I might read it and find out that I didn’t like what he had to say or there might be something that might make me doubt my taste. But, also lucky for me, the book just reinforced my status as his biggest and longest fan in America. Though now I guess I’d have to add “that’s not related to him”. Seriously, this was a joy to read. Turns out that growing up biracial in Lund, Sweden has a lot in common with growing up biracial in Racine, WI in the late 70s and 80s. (We are only a few months apart in age.) Like a lot of us entering middle age, he’s looking back at his family history as a means to self discovery. This quest take him back to the US to Harlem, South Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama. He’s insightful, funny, and at times shockingly blunt in a manner I don’t think anyone but a Black Swede could be! It’s good to see black history through the lens of someone who is one of us, but still also an outsider. Think Trevor Noah. I was reminded often of Trevor Noah’s book Born a Crime and also of Obama’s Dreams from my Father. People want to force biracial folks to have to pick a lane. We have to be part white or all Black without any room for what we actually are which is, as I hear Timbuktu say in an interview recently, BOTH. Both experiences color our experiences and there should be room for that. This book affirms that and I can’t tell you how priceless that is! I’m so thankful for this book and suggest you give it a try. I believe until the end of the month you can get a Kindle copy free with Amazon Prime. Here’s a playlist I put together awhile ago on Spotify https://open.spotify.com/user/binaryc...
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  • Annie Woods
    January 1, 1970
    Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité is a Swedish hip-hop artist, who grew up with a mixed heritage leaving him in a no-man’s land in constant search for himself. This heartfelt, vivid, raw and superbly written memoir follows Jason on a journey where he strives to find his roots, understand his multicultural self and find his place in the world. Through conversations with his parents, long-lost letters and pilgrimages in his ancestors’ footsteps, this memoir spans from the cotton fields South Carolina Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité is a Swedish hip-hop artist, who grew up with a mixed heritage leaving him in a no-man’s land in constant search for himself. This heartfelt, vivid, raw and superbly written memoir follows Jason on a journey where he strives to find his roots, understand his multicultural self and find his place in the world. Through conversations with his parents, long-lost letters and pilgrimages in his ancestors’ footsteps, this memoir spans from the cotton fields South Carolina slavery via Harlem, New York, to twenty-first Sweden. This book is such a raw and honest eye-opener to race, discrimination and how today’s generation is still affected by the ancestors’ trauma, but also a beautiful portrait of Jason’s family members, especially his father, and their relationship. It’s a book that will stay with me for a long time and that I recommend with all my heart.
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  • Katie Prater
    January 1, 1970
    Great content, somewhat meanderingMemoir being what it is, a critique of content is a critique of a life, and this was an interesting one to read. My greatest challenge was the structure of the book—globe and time hopping memoir interspersed with occasional academic references and self reflection, as well as sweeping deToqueville-esque assessments of the state of the US as a whole didn’t always flow. That, to my mind, is a fault in editing, not authorship. Each of the parts of the book should be Great content, somewhat meanderingMemoir being what it is, a critique of content is a critique of a life, and this was an interesting one to read. My greatest challenge was the structure of the book—globe and time hopping memoir interspersed with occasional academic references and self reflection, as well as sweeping deToqueville-esque assessments of the state of the US as a whole didn’t always flow. That, to my mind, is a fault in editing, not authorship. Each of the parts of the book should be there, but not where they landed in the book, and that disjointedness made for something of a slog.I am also sad that I don’t speak Swedish, because there were certain brilliant turns of phrase in the book that made me think the unfiltered language of the Swedish probably smoothed some of the edges that tripped me.
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  • Colette Kern
    January 1, 1970
    A not to miss memoirI am grateful that this wide ranging and brilliant memoir was translated from the Swedish . I hope it enjoys huge success in the US and in all English speaking countries. Mr. Diakite writes so beautifully and honestly about his own search for identity, and he has just the right amount of distance and closeness to describe the persistent racism in the US now. I loved his references to African American writers and icons from the past, and the way he weaves these in between his A not to miss memoirI am grateful that this wide ranging and brilliant memoir was translated from the Swedish . I hope it enjoys huge success in the US and in all English speaking countries. Mr. Diakite writes so beautifully and honestly about his own search for identity, and he has just the right amount of distance and closeness to describe the persistent racism in the US now. I loved his references to African American writers and icons from the past, and the way he weaves these in between his personal family story and his observations about culture . Definitely recommend.
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  • Valerie
    January 1, 1970
    Reviewed for ALA's "Booklist" Magazine -- appears in the February 1, 2020 issue. If you have a subscription, you can read my review at BooklistOnline.com at:https://www.booklistonline.com/A-Drop...
  • Rebekah
    January 1, 1970
    This book was available as part of Amazon Prime's First Reads and I picked it up as my monthly pick. I think this is the first time I've actually read the book the same month I've bought it, but man this book was disappointing. Despite the fact that this book seems to insinuate that Diakite's journey of self-discovery across all parts of his mixed heritage, this is really only about Diakite getting in touch with and exploring his black and African family histories. But even so, the vast majority This book was available as part of Amazon Prime's First Reads and I picked it up as my monthly pick. I think this is the first time I've actually read the book the same month I've bought it, but man this book was disappointing. Despite the fact that this book seems to insinuate that Diakite's journey of self-discovery across all parts of his mixed heritage, this is really only about Diakite getting in touch with and exploring his black and African family histories. But even so, the vast majority of this book is actually just examining race in America versus race in Sweden, and the history of slavery, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, and modern movements like Black Lives Matter. I'm assuming this is for the purpose of educating an ignorant Swedish audience (since this book was first published in Swedish and in Sweden) but as an American reader, I found all of this to be quite dull and tedious. Diakite is also constantly quoting big chunks of texts from various black writers and intellectuals that align with whatever he's explaining at the moment. It feels like a dissertation about racism complete with citations as opposed to an emotional memoir. Amazingly, since so much of the book is cluttered up with unpacking the entire history of the black person in America, the actual memoir parts don't really land because I was too bored to care - and Diakite's family history does seem quite colorful. Unfortunately, I think this book gives a bad impression of Diakite's family and as mean as this sounds, I didn't like these people. (From his white mother who was once so "woke" she thought she too was black, to his father who guilt-trips his son whenever he breathes, to the black extended family in Baltimore that places themselves above other blacks in the American hierarchy, to the black American expats living in Sweden and who really love Trump... I really didn't feel anything warm and fuzzy for this people.)I think this book probably made a big splash in Sweden, but as an American reader, I was very checked-out throughout this book. Ultimately disappointing.
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  • Brian Andrews
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating book that tells stories from Diakite's own life, his parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Drives home the point that racism and slavery have an on-going effect. Made me think about how I'm a product of my parents, who were strongly influenced by their parents . . . and so on. Then you do the math and realize that Diakite's family tree is, relatively speaking, recently affected by slavery and racism. And not just that, but how the oppressors' upbringing is "recently affected" Fascinating book that tells stories from Diakite's own life, his parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Drives home the point that racism and slavery have an on-going effect. Made me think about how I'm a product of my parents, who were strongly influenced by their parents . . . and so on. Then you do the math and realize that Diakite's family tree is, relatively speaking, recently affected by slavery and racism. And not just that, but how the oppressors' upbringing is "recently affected" by slavery and racism - they're carrying on what they learned from their ancestors. Is it any wonder racism is such an issue in the U.S. (and worldwide)? It really wasn't that long ago that the events related in this book happened - whites killing blacks with no repercussions, blacks as second class citizens under the (white) law of the land, blacks as sharecroppers, and going all the way back (actually not that long ago) to blacks being slaves.I recently argued with an acquaintance that he is culturally ignorant, because he thought everyone has the same opportunity and are in the same position to succeed. I argued that just by being white and raised middle class, he has an advantage. Reading this book, doing the math on timing, and realizing how much my parents influenced me (and theirs before them) clarified further for me that we don't all have it the same. We don't have the same opportunities. Culture and history definitely impact us.This book isn't preachy - the (true) stories are interesting. But you connect the dots and it is enlightening (at least for me).Only 4 stars because the narrative drifts during the last 1/3 of the book.
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  • Kevin Castro Riestra
    January 1, 1970
    4.5Looking to make sense of his identity as a biracial person, born to American parents, living in Sweden, Diakité sets out to investigate his family's history. His memories of growing up and living in Sweden provide a discerning account of racism and race relations in that predominantly white European country. It's a feeling of being not quite at home in his native country that turns Diakité's gaze towards the past and the United States. His father opposes this investigative urge, motivated by 4.5Looking to make sense of his identity as a biracial person, born to American parents, living in Sweden, Diakité sets out to investigate his family's history. His memories of growing up and living in Sweden provide a discerning account of racism and race relations in that predominantly white European country. It's a feeling of being not quite at home in his native country that turns Diakité's gaze towards the past and the United States. His father opposes this investigative urge, motivated by powerful memories of the potent, omnipresent racism in the United States. This argument with his father raises questions about whether history is best forgotten, hidden away, or confronted, exposed to light.When Diakité travels to the United States, he visits several cities, meeting family members and activists. As he does so, he learns about and describes the history and present reality of African American oppression. Through his discussions with people of various different generations and circumstances, Diakité encounters the myriad ways people can and have responded to and grown under oppression and prejudice.As well as being about identity, racism, history, and family, this memoir is about Diakité's strained relationship with his father. Through learning more about the experiences that shaped his father's outlook on the world, Diakité comes to develop greater empathy for him. Perhaps my one, minor criticism of the book is that, given the range of viewpoints encountered, it's not entirely possible to extend this same empathy to all. Regardless, Diakité is an astute observer and evocative writer who deftly guides readers through his doubts, conflicts, and resolutions.
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  • Gopal Sadagopal
    January 1, 1970
    Superbly written. A genuine search to understand his roots and the life of his parents, grandparents+, their struggles and sufferings with the racial bigotry in USA from someone (He grew up in Sweden). You feel the pain he does as he learns about the life of his parents in the deep south and that of his ancestors. Diakite is a keen observer and sees the structural injustices in everyday life. But he has a healthy open attitude without preset opinions. I admire that in spite of the atrocities he Superbly written. A genuine search to understand his roots and the life of his parents, grandparents+, their struggles and sufferings with the racial bigotry in USA from someone (He grew up in Sweden). You feel the pain he does as he learns about the life of his parents in the deep south and that of his ancestors. Diakite is a keen observer and sees the structural injustices in everyday life. But he has a healthy open attitude without preset opinions. I admire that in spite of the atrocities he observes in the American society, he does not slam all white people with a single grouping. He listens to his African American uncle defend Trump, understands there are multiple sides to an issue. A quote, "Instead of discussion about the struggle for black rights, my family has only condemnations".The author is very honest about his own failures and feelings, his family and the society. His knowledge of the impact of and on people, music and life is remarkable. One thing I do wonder. He is talk black and half white. I understand the energy and time he spent to understand his roots in the African American side (he grew up in Sweden). But he does not spend even one moment wondering about the history and roots of his white heritage. This does not diminish my admiration of this young man's heart, journey & writing.
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  • 〰️Beth〰️
    January 1, 1970
    Never spoilersThe entire book meanders with vignettes of stories about Diakité’s family history. He really does not hit his writing flow until about a third of the way into the book. There is also some confusion at the beginning regarding 2015. I am not sure if it a typo but there seems to be a discrepancy in timing (nit picky maybe but I found it confusing enough to go back and reread the first few chapters.Overall it is a wonderful introspection of a man trying to find and accept his identity. Never spoilersThe entire book meanders with vignettes of stories about Diakité’s family history. He really does not hit his writing flow until about a third of the way into the book. There is also some confusion at the beginning regarding 2015. I am not sure if it a typo but there seems to be a discrepancy in timing (nit picky maybe but I found it confusing enough to go back and reread the first few chapters.Overall it is a wonderful introspection of a man trying to find and accept his identity. Being 2/5 African-American 2/5 European-American and 1/5 Native-American growing up in Sweden. The book focuses on his African-American heritage. I would have liked more on his Native American ancestors and even his European American’s immigration. I know it is hard to find records for slaves and natives so there are things he may never find.It was interesting to see the evolution of African American history thru the lens of someone growing up in Scandinavia. I would definitely recommend this book
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  • Mandi
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve been thinking over this book for several days. I don’t feel like I can write a review that does the book justice isn’t works of how engaging it is and the various themes it touches on. As soon as I got a good chunk into the book, I couldn’t put it down. It’s really compelling and there are various layers of within it, it’s not just about race and nationality, but also belonging, self-discovery, and self worth, family, and relationships between parents and children. As a thirty-something I’ve been thinking over this book for several days. I don’t feel like I can write a review that does the book justice isn’t works of how engaging it is and the various themes it touches on. As soon as I got a good chunk into the book, I couldn’t put it down. It’s really compelling and there are various layers of within it, it’s not just about race and nationality, but also belonging, self-discovery, and self worth, family, and relationships between parents and children. As a thirty-something white stay-at-home mom, I am worlds away from the author but I really appreciated that he shared his unique personal history and perspectives and it gave me some new insights into race that I know I needed. Perhaps my favorite part of the book was the unraveling of the relationship between Diakite and his father, a relationship that evolves throughout the book and shows glimpses of true love, respect and empathy between parent and child.There was quite a bit of rough language and I stumbled over a little bit of the writing (particularly frequent incomplete sentences that I’m not sure were purposeful or were more of a translation/language issue). Otherwise, I was quite impressed with the writing and translation and enjoyed how the various anecdotes of Diakite’s self discovery journey were put together.
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  • Laura Burns
    January 1, 1970
    A unique perspective on race, from outside and inside. Jason is of mixed heritage. From a grandmother who sent her children to Africa to be "free", to a father and white mother who moved to Sweden to be escape the bigotry of America, to relatives from South Carolina, Baltimore and Harlem, Jason embodies and expounds on many theories of racism, freedom and what it is to be black. Growing up in Sweden, he was still exposed to hatred and bigotry. Once exposed to rap and hip hip, he identified more A unique perspective on race, from outside and inside. Jason is of mixed heritage. From a grandmother who sent her children to Africa to be "free", to a father and white mother who moved to Sweden to be escape the bigotry of America, to relatives from South Carolina, Baltimore and Harlem, Jason embodies and expounds on many theories of racism, freedom and what it is to be black. Growing up in Sweden, he was still exposed to hatred and bigotry. Once exposed to rap and hip hip, he identified more with his black heritage and went on a journey through America to gain a better understanding of his ancestors. Sometimes clumsy, sometimes slow, sometimes repetitive, this book is still worthwhile for Jason's unique perspective and his ultimate choice to live where he most felt comfortable, not having to check each room he entered to gauge the temperature of the race. I enjoyed it would rate it a solid 3.75.
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  • Bookworm
    January 1, 1970
    I wasn't familiar with the author or his work but I was intrigued and it was included in my Kindle Unlimited subscription. I didn't know he was of mixed heritage either or I was curious to see what his life was like living between multiple worlds in different countries, never really fitting in with the people around him.Overall the book is a mishmash of things: his life, the dealing with racism, not fitting in, finding himself, etc. It read like a series of vignettes and overall I'd say it I wasn't familiar with the author or his work but I was intrigued and it was included in my Kindle Unlimited subscription. I didn't know he was of mixed heritage either or I was curious to see what his life was like living between multiple worlds in different countries, never really fitting in with the people around him.Overall the book is a mishmash of things: his life, the dealing with racism, not fitting in, finding himself, etc. It read like a series of vignettes and overall I'd say it doesn't work. While there were some interesting bits there was no overall arc it seemed and it was a retelling of things that happened to him and the people in his life.However, by the end it seems like he found some peace, which is nice. If you're a fan of artist Timbuktu you might like this but I'm glad this was something that could easily be returned via my tablet.Otherwise, library borrow but I wouldn't rush out to read it.
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  • Kara
    January 1, 1970
    This memoir was absolutely vibrant, full of life, raw, and plain beautiful.Jason Diakite, aka Swedish rapper, Timbuktu, painted a picture of not only his life, but the lives of his family; His father, mother, uncle, ancestors, and friends. Upon first reading this, one may think that it is a bit slow. But as I got further in, I realized that it was actually fast-paced. This was like a montage of Jason's current journey to dig into his roots, to his journey to America spanning between Harlem, NY This memoir was absolutely vibrant, full of life, raw, and plain beautiful.Jason Diakite, aka Swedish rapper, Timbuktu, painted a picture of not only his life, but the lives of his family; His father, mother, uncle, ancestors, and friends. Upon first reading this, one may think that it is a bit slow. But as I got further in, I realized that it was actually fast-paced. This was like a montage of Jason's current journey to dig into his roots, to his journey to America spanning between Harlem, NY and South Carolina. I think that my absolute favorite moments in this book were the moments between Jason and his father. Madubuko was the shining star of Jason's memoir. I loved reading of the relationship between the two of them, and how it progressed and warmed as Jason continued to dig and travel. His father played such an important part in everything. From painting what Harlem is and meant to him, to making Jason realize how important it is to hold close the ones you love.I almost wish this book continued to go on.
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  • Kellie
    January 1, 1970
    Words to heal and words to teachThis was an absolutely incredible book. I chose it from the options of the free book for amazon prime members for February and am so thankful that I did. I'll admit, prior to this book, I have never heard of Jason, or his music, but the story sounded interesting. In the few weeks/days since I started reading it, I mentioned to everyone I spoke with about this incredible book I was reading. I'm close in age to Jason, but growing up white, have never had to question Words to heal and words to teachThis was an absolutely incredible book. I chose it from the options of the free book for amazon prime members for February and am so thankful that I did. I'll admit, prior to this book, I have never heard of Jason, or his music, but the story sounded interesting. In the few weeks/days since I started reading it, I mentioned to everyone I spoke with about this incredible book I was reading. I'm close in age to Jason, but growing up white, have never had to question where I belong or what happened to my people who came before me. The stories of slavery were discussed in history classes and I've read other books, but for some reason Jason's words made more of it seem more real and my heart hurts for the the things people went through and the struggles that continue. Thank you for your words and thank you for reaching me.
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  • Alan Zabel
    January 1, 1970
    I chose this "First Reads" book from Kindle because I thought it would be interesting. It was that and much more! The author has written this memoir about his search for his place in the world via his family history. That alone is much more than the average person. He has an African-American father an a white American mother, but he was born in and raised in Sweden. His journey takes him throughout the United States. Many of is relatives and ancestors could themselves be the subject of I chose this "First Reads" book from Kindle because I thought it would be interesting. It was that and much more! The author has written this memoir about his search for his place in the world via his family history. That alone is much more than the average person. He has an African-American father an a white American mother, but he was born in and raised in Sweden. His journey takes him throughout the United States. Many of is relatives and ancestors could themselves be the subject of meaningful books. The story by itself is fascinating. Even more, I found that his telling of the story seemed to put me inside his head. I experienced his feelings to a much greater degree than just words on a page. He transferred the passion off his feelings and discoveries into his memoir and made it a memorable experience for me, the reader. Highly recommended.
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  • Kaja
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 I felt like this book was a wonderful mix of family history, an understanding of racism in Sweden and the US, as well as an acceptance of who we are and where we come from despite what/where that may be. I felt myself evaluating my life and my journey through accepting who I am as well, and I appreciate that about this book. So many thought provoking statements and ideas that I loved. I truly did enjoy this book and felt like many more people could gain a great deal about themselves by 4.5 ⭐️ I felt like this book was a wonderful mix of family history, an understanding of racism in Sweden and the US, as well as an acceptance of who we are and where we come from despite what/where that may be. I felt myself evaluating my life and my journey through accepting who I am as well, and I appreciate that about this book. So many thought provoking statements and ideas that I loved. I truly did enjoy this book and felt like many more people could gain a great deal about themselves by following Diakité through his journey.
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  • Thomas Henley
    January 1, 1970
    This incredible book got me from the get go. It’s rare to find a book that is both intimate and personal and at the same time all encompassing. I read this in one sitting and it’s not a thin book. It left me shaking. It’s about one mans search not just for identity but for meaning. Written in fast paced rhythmic prose akin to Ta-Nehisi Coates at his best or Didion at her most intimate. Best non fiction if 2020 so far...
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  • Lisa Miller
    January 1, 1970
    Quite edifyingThe only reason this didn’t get five stars is that I save that for a book with both erudite writing and content. This book edges close to that, but the writing, while amazingly good and honest, isn’t quite 5 star. The author brings a unique perspective. I hope he writes another book in about 25 years!
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  • Claudia
    January 1, 1970
    We are oneThis translation was good. To know, really understand, what a person of color feels like is important for our very lives. I am a Heinz 57 descendant. I have never felt different; but I love people, and I know that one layer of skin deep, we are all the same. Yes, I love this read.
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  • Madelaine
    January 1, 1970
    great memoir. What a story! I really enjoyed the anecdotes about his life and the life of his parents. His grandmother was a piece of work. I'm not going to do any spoilers, let's just say I recommend this book for any student of human nature and an inside view of what it's like to be black for all you whiteys out there
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  • Diana
    January 1, 1970
    So worth the read!Very compelling and well written..... I highly recommend this moving journey of searching for life's meaning in one family's black experience in American history. It is poignant, loving and deeply sincere. I am changed.
  • Cynthia
    January 1, 1970
    Must read!So good. I cannot begin to tell you how this book actually made me feel emotionally. The journey of discovery, the raw emotion, and the voice all made this book one I could not put down. I will revisit this one.
  • Florence Solonche
    January 1, 1970
    Historically Brilliant The most succinct and well researched history of how we got to this place in our history. The author had amazing courage to follow his family's history. And write about it honestly. A must read.
  • Shirley
    January 1, 1970
    I almost did not read this book since it was a memoir of a world renowned Rap music star. The hook for me was that South Carolina was going to play a role. Both depressing and hopeful in the discovery about who and what makes a mixed racial person who they choose to become.
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  • Kathleen Zamorski
    January 1, 1970
    Very interesting book and I’m better educated for having read it. This young man writes of his experiences, in America and Sweden (as well as elsewhere) and is open about his feelings - how they’ve changed in some cases, and his relationship with his parents. A cultural education.
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  • Jenna Bachman
    January 1, 1970
    4.25 Compelling exploration of race and what it means across countries and generations. Really enjoyed Diakité's analysis and introspection. A very poignant memoir that reminds us all of the bonds between family and examines the complexities that come with varying identities.
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