After following her mother to the US at a young age to pursue economic opportunities, one woman must come to terms with the ways in which systematic racism and resultant trauma keep the American Dream inaccessible to Black people.
... engaging ... Drayton writes her story, both extraordinary and representative, from Trinidad and Tobago ... In her homeland, Drayton can finally celebrate being free from American racism. Still, despite everything she has experienced, and while noting that 'abusers seldom change,' Drayton retains hope that America will eventually live up to its promise. Only time will tell.
... the author describes a life rich in both experience and trauma, insightfully creating a conceit that runs throughout: America is a narcissist, and living in America as a Black person is to be in an abusive relationship ... What is unclear is how she identifies as a refugee; in the book, she omits a line that appears in the article: 'The United Nations defines refugees as people who flee their homes because of war, persecution or violence.' It’s not difficult to infer how she fits this criterion, but while refugee is in the title, it is almost nowhere in the memoir. Despite this lack of clarity, the book is a welcome addition to the literature on race in America ... Drayton has a powerful story and the voice to do it justice.
... blistering if uneven ... While the combination of vignette and pop psychology can feel unbalanced, Drayton’s rich storytelling reveals the complex roles 'victims' and 'abusers' play in 'American racial stratification' and offers a path toward healing for both. Those seeking to better understand the long-term effects of racism should pick this up.