Will Jawando tells a deeply affirmative story of hope and respect for men of color at a time when Black men are routinely stigmatized. As a boy growing up outside DC, Will, who went by his Nigerian name, Yemi, was shunted from school to school, never quite fitting in. He was a Black kid with a divorced white mother, a frayed relationship with his biological father, and teachers who scolded him for being disruptive in class and on the playground. Eventually, he became close to Kalfani, a kid he looked up to on the basketball court. Years after he got the call telling him that Kalfani was dead, another sickening casualty of gun violence, Will looks back on the relationships with an extraordinary series of mentors that enabled him to thrive.
Jawando has written an enlightening, heartfelt memoir that will appeal to readers looking for a 'different' all-American story; one that shows the power of community to uplift Black men in the United States.
[A] rousing debut ... In vivid and moving passages, he describes the impact these men had on him during crucial times in his life ... As Jawando lucidly details, the net effect of the loving support he received helped him become 'a statistic on the positive side of America’s skewed racial balance sheet.' This effective combination of the personal and the political acts as a powerful call to action in these fraught times