When I was approached about reviewing this book initially I took a pause. It’s a book written by a woman after her break up with a man and since I’m a married lesbian who hasn’t been on a date in years I thought that I wouldn’t be able to relate. I wasn’t. Had this book found me after my divorce when I was still hurting and hadn’t spent a zillion dollars on landmark, therapy, self help and self love books it would’ve been right up my angry alley. I still enjoyed it though so I gave it 5 stars.
The writing is hilarious and full of my favorite words: PROFANITY. Erin’s no nonsense approach to teaching other women how to deal with horrible men is refreshing and timely. As I read the book I thought of all of the women who I would tell they needed to read this book. So if we’re friends in real life before you call me to vent about your latest failed Tinder escapade do us both a favor and read this book first.
I love listening to The Read Podcast where the hosts frequently tell people to “Break up with him,” and while reading this book I felt like it should be sold on their website right next to the Break Up With Him T-Shirts and shorts. If you love no-nonsense self help books that read like they were written from your favorite sophistiratchet big cousin then this book is for you.
My grandma (whom I call mommy) came to FL for a visit and ended up getting sick and spending almost two weeks in the hospital. Now she’s at my home and my family is trying to figure out how to get her back up north to her home. Needless to say I’m stressed but mostly over the people who show up when a family member is sick.
There are 4 basic types of people who show up when a loved one is really sick. Most of them are good and mean well but at least one of them sucks tremendously.
The know it all – Probably saved and sanctified. Probably hoping to gain something from sick family member. Oftentimes money. Keeps saying “Whatever they (sick family member) want to do is what we’re going to do.” Regardless to whether whatever sick family member is saying is actually what’s best for them. Will frequently remind everyone why they’re in charge – oldest, only daughter, lives closest, etc- even though they’ve shown that they’re only on the scene to be seen and have had ample opportunity to step up to the plate and provide care in the past, though they’ve never stepped up before and are barely stepping up now except to be the loudest person in the room.
The caregiver– Been taking care of sick family member since day one. Genuinely wants what’s best for sick family member. Probably overwhelmed. Probably has a ton of other responsibilities who need them as much if not more as sick family member. Either doesn’t work or has a super stressful ass job that they have to tend to in addition to taking care of everything else.
The knows a lot but won’t speak up– Probably has some sort of medical background. Probably has a good support system and is well balanced. Tremendously helpful but rarely speaks. More action less talking is their motto. Probably has no children or older children and a supportive spouse. Probably the best candidate to be the caregiver or to assist the caregiver but won’t because they don’t want to deal with the family drama.
The wants to help but doesn’t know how or The does what they can– Probably lives in a different state than sick family member. Tremendously helpful when they’re able to be near. Frequently checks in or follows up with sick family member and caregiver. Expresses what they think is best in a safe way but supports whatever decision is made. Probably has younger children and is either single or the primary breadwinner of their household. Frequently says “Well that sounds like the best thing for sick family member but I’ll do whatever you all need me to do.”
I’m probably missing some items/people here but *shrugs* my grandma is in my house and she’s declined dramatically so… I’m likely not thinking straight, also Know it All should go and fuck themselves because life would be better for all involved if they did. (That was nicer than what I really wanted to say.)
- My alarm sounds like the theme music from from a nineties video game. When it goes off AB complains that it is not soothing enough. I tell her that I don’t care. She proceeds to jump around our bedroom as if she is Mario from Super Mario Brothers making the noises, acting as if she ate a mushroom and has grown, and just being an all around character. A. She taught me to not care about certain things. B. I wish to be as free as she is but just watching her be free is plenty good for me. For now.
- Darian is oversleeping in his bedroom which is next to ours. He is alive, loved, and comfortable.
- Snapchat, it’s filters, my best friend’s stories.
- My mother’s hilarity and our text messages.
- On Sunday my father kissed my cheek and refrained from lecturing me on how to lose weight. I’m losing it. I obviously have it covered. I think he gets that.
- Today is the first day of my writer’s retreat. I plan to write, and write, and write, and write. With a little editing and planning thrown in for balance.
- My grandmother is alive she has lived through so many things and I’m getting better at preparing myself for when she is ready to be done with this earth.
- Friends who come to your job just to hug you and kiss your cheeks. Those are the best kinds.
- Cyn. Mystical, Warrior, Woman; full of grace and knowledge.
- That gospel song that goes “Woke me up this morning started me on my way.” that one. That happened.
- Love. It’s all we need.
I rated this book: * * * * *
A Return to Arms is the story of Toya a black lesbian activist trying to navigate her way through both life and the passages of the Black Lives Matter movement. Her life is a daily struggle of a young person trying to convince the rest of America that Black Lives Matter while attempting to convince the Organization, Rise Up of which she is an active member, that ALL Black Lives Matter. That women, queer people, children, men, single, straight, asexual, all of the intersections of Black Lives must Matter.
As Toya navigates her way through the rising tension and societal that arises after the killing of an unarmed teen by a police officer and the subsequent unrest she deals with the uncertainty of her relationship with another activist who believes that the cause must come before anything else, even her love life.
I hate spoilers so I hope you can get the gyst of the story from what I’ve written above but in two sentences: A Return To Arms is a love story, Love of self, love of community. And a story about the measures so many under represented activists go through to demand equality both in their communities and in the world.
I’m a Sheree L Greer stan. I LOVE everything she writes. I’m sharing that with full disclosure mostly because during a conversation with Sheree about why I don’t really like to review books by people I love, I worry that that love will interfere with me giving an honest unbiased review and she advised me to do the review as authentically as I could, “You call yourself Authentically Adrien be authentic.” Or something like that. Anyways, This book is phenomenal. It is her best work. It is the work that I sit back and wait patiently to be dissected by major blogs. It is the book that should land her on the New York Times Bestsellers List. (If it doesn’t you hating)
From the opening paragraph through the last sentence THE LAST SENTENCE I was hooked. I followed Toya’s story like my life depended on it possibly because I am Toya, Black, Queer, Woman, Activist. But also because Toya is so well written. I read somewhere once that an author’s job is to make you feel something and OH did we Feel something. We felt ALL the things. Including the music. I couldn’t quite pinpoint the words to the soundtrack of this book but I could feel the rhythm in the center of my back. I could sense the tempo under my palms as I inhaled this novel from tense movement to sexual moment to heartbreaking earth shattering moment.
I lived through these characters. I understood every single one of them and I even empathized for the characters that I hated. Sheree’s writing makes sure that you understand and relate to both antagonists and protagonists alike. It took me to the different settings and left me with vivid guttural images of the protest scenes. If you have never been to a rally you can officially make that claim after you read this book and I hope that it will help you to understand the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement if you don’t already.
Be prepared to have some interesting dialogue after you read this book and if you know Sheree personally and you text her in the middle of the night to say things like “Seriously? I hate that dude.” or “OH MY GOD.” Let her know that you didn’t get the idea to do so from me.
Purchase A Return to Arms Here.
Read more by/about Sheree L Greer Here.
I received this book to review in exchange for an advanced copy of the book. (Ya’ll know I like books!)
I’ve been trying very hard to post something brand new for every day of NaBloPoMo but it is incredibly hard. Today’s prompt was Time. I’m sure if I were feeling differently I could probably come up with something awesome but today all I keep thinking about is how there is no such thing as time. How it’s a fallacy. An invented construct. Lately I’ve been floating back and forth between being ok and feeling like time is not on my side. Love is not on my side. For the first time in my life I actually thought that maybe Happily Ever After was not for me. Maybe I have been cursed with the Happily Never After Disease. And I shall be stuck with it forever and ever. How’s that for time?