... stunning ... brilliant ... Perhaps Emezi’s greatest achievement with this memoir is their insistence on centering Igbo ontology within their story rather than reaching for tired Western metaphors about psychiatric conditions like trauma, PTSD or disassociation. Emezi’s work reminds us that these diagnoses are limiting boxes, shaped by colonialist, racist and sexist assumptions. Dear Senthuran explodes these human limitations by insisting on the imagination’s power to create worlds ... Each letter in Dear Senthuran is hypnotic and poetic, but the letters to Nonso, which read like letters to a student or a 'baby writer,' are particularly powerful ... Emezi generously shares both their wounds and their wisdom, offering aspiring writers and artists fresh inspiration for creating new forms of making, loving and being.
In a world predisposed to queer villainy, Dear Senthuran claims monstrosity as a space of intentional rejection ... Incrementally, the chapters inch closer and closer to a frightening reality ... Identity is an undeniable part of Emezi’s project, but the memoir strays far from a traditional story of diaspora or gender ...It was not written for you or for me; Emezi is not concerned with such earthly things. This is a book about terms, and the agency we can afford ourselves by doing away with them altogether. It is also an audacious sojourn through the terror and beauty of refusing to explain yourself in the relentless pursuit of self-actualization ... Emezi has spent pages showing us the strain of living in a world where we’re forced to decide between two choices, and find that neither will suffice. Only an alternate path will do.
What is revealed in these letters is both the immense strength Emezi has nurtured in order to sustain a belief in who they are despite the destructive noise of the world, as well as Emezi's own brave and poignant vulnerability in charting this journey ... Written in imagistic language that is both poetic and crystalline, Dear Senthuran is an honest and lyrical accounting of a boundless mind exploring the wide expanse of creativity and experience. Authentic and vulnerable, the writing winds through the depths of wrenching wounds, but also explores the beauty in not pretending to be less that one truly is.