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Reflecting on Empowerment

Okay, so I finished reading Bone Black by Bell Hooks. Kind of had my hopes to take on three books this week but this one, and it’s a small book, spun me around a few more times than I counted on. So least I need to spell out, unless I get a hold of ‘a whole lot of’ Jack n Jill books, I may have to forget having taken on this 100-book reading challenge.

I love cooing over books but this one I struggled to grasp (what I’m calling) the chaste background narration. And I would have done like I've done other books I struggled with, had not it been for it's empowering premise.

I soldiered on, periodically flipping the book over to read praises about the book. I must have flipped to the back cover a dozen times rereading a caption of a praise ‘…condemns anything more than silence for women…’ it read.

…but I’m thinking, not by the tacit voice in which the narrator operated. The passionate mixture of a woman recalling a young girl eavesdropping in on what was going on around her challenged me to understand this portrayal relating to the significance of speaking out. In some of the stories, such as the Good Hair story, she takes a position. In others she merely paints a picture leaving the reader to decide what she’s painted. In all of the stories however, it’s this voice…the narration…that is most striking.

Pouring over the pristine voice I got to thinking (& deeply I may as well add) about the striking silence and how I parallel it to the unwritten laws of human survival. Fitting in. Or following orders. Not only for women, as no one is immune from making sacrifices to follow mores. We constantly toil to keep our toes inside social lane-markers of our time. Even when a custom is challenged, it must be challenged in numbers. And yes, I realize after about the dozenth flip to the back of the book that I was reading too deeply into the premise, but honestly, before I grab a flag and run out into the streets and start shouting, I thought I should at the very least first know what I’m shouting about.

There was one story towards the end that helped pipe down all the thinking. But I’m going to omit sharing the great revelation in exchange for an even greater revelation. I correlate the experience of reading Black Bone to the premier reason for why I write and publish the books I do today.

A Noble Classic.


  1. This sounds very interesting and I will keep my eyes open for it. I really enjoy your blog.

    Hope your week is wonderful,

    Kathy M.


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