RaveThe New York Times Book Review... a profound and lyrical meditation on race, class, justice and their intersections with art ... her sons are 22 and 23, and one of its most intimate and moving passages expresses her fear for their safety, as members of the generation she has christened ... When Dr. King gazed upon the...National Mall, transformed into a sea of radical hope, in the crowd was a baby [Alexander] being nurtured to witness and one day testify on behalf of the struggle for Black equality and self-determination. As much as this magnificent book is anything else, it’s a commitment to that generous and crucial life’s work.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"... magnificent ... At times Gerald moves too quickly to the next scene or idea, when he might have benefited from a more sustained explanation of his thinking. On the other hand, he just might have crafted a consummate 21st-century memoir for readers whose brains have been rewired by Google, their attention always under siege. Gerald also pushes stylistic conventions, with short passages where he writes about himself in the third person or directly addresses the reader. He includes metanarratives as well as letters, emails and speeches. And ever present is the enchantment of his voice, one that is at turns exuberant, humorous, unsentimental, imaginative, keen. While Gerald’s style is engaging, the locus of the book is his extraordinary journey ... But [Gerald\'s] life, and this memoir, serve as proof of his prodigious talents, of the truth that, for the gifted like him, struggles that range from a serious hardship to a little mistake can yield something miraculous.\
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewIn prose at once lucid, lyrical and rich in simile, Pardlo historicizes his grandfathers’ migration to the East Coast, his family’s middle-class life in suburban New Jersey, episodes of adolescent strife and his hasty enlistment in the Marine Corps Reserve ... The book shifts midway to a collection of short essays that show an enviable talent for aphorism. Pardlo examines the existential quality of mutual orgasms, his marriages, the role of time in the lives of African-Americans and his experiences raising two daughters. The topic of race is never far, though Pardlo appears conflicted. He asserts he isn’t a \'practicing black\' ... Those statements beg deeper explication. And there are other moments that would have benefited from a more sustained investigation ... Pardlo is perhaps most vulnerable and incisive on the topic of addiction. He acknowledges his grandparents’ struggle with alcoholism, reflects on his father’s and brother’s fights with substance abuse and his own decades-long battle ... Had he lived long enough to read Air Traffic, one hopes he [Pardlo\'s father] could have seen past his hubris and their strained relations to offer what might be Pardlo’s most coveted review: Well done, son. You did good.