... a raw chunk of life sliced into essays packed with truths, devastating realizations, music, failed coping mechanisms, a constant search for the self, and a lot of booze ... More than a collection of essays, this book reads like a slightly fragmented memoir focused on the search for identity, the desire to write, and Perry's constant sense of unease as a black man in Iowa City. While music, friends, and his love life all play major roles in the collection, alcohol, racism, the inability to create consistently — and a sense of agitated stagnation — are the elements of cohesion that make this feel like a complete, deep, satisfying read ... Perry's prose is energetic and strange. It effortlessly goes from poetic and self-assured to gloomy and plagued by insecurities to hedonistic and lighthearted ... the writing is a mixture of beautiful and gritty, educated and desperate, brilliant and dark ... The variety of structures, formats, and rhythms Perry uses in Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now is extraordinary. Some passages are extremely personal and touching while others turn his experiences into communal events that highlight how change and insecurity are constants that affect all of us ... Perry doesn't shy away from presenting himself and all his flaws ... Perry writes beautifully about ugly events and feelings. He tackles racism head on and explores his role in fighting it ... a rough, heartfelt collection of essays that dig deep into who Perry is and engage the reader in the process with revelations that morph into mirrors that are uncomfortable to look at ... These essays shine with broken humanity and announce the arrival of a new voice in contemporary nonfiction, but they do so with heaps of melancholia and frustration instead of answers. That Perry can hurt us and keep us asking for more is a testament to his talent as a storyteller.
Utilizing prose, film excerpts, and fanciful talk-show interactions, Perry paints a broad-strokes portrait of coming of age as a black artist, searching for identity and belonging in often hostile environments ... The contradictory nature of navigating diaspora is drawn in sharp relief as Perry struggles to balance embracing and challenging expectations and stereotypes ... his blunt observations [are] both refreshing and discomfiting ... While blistering cultural critique is a prominent force within the essays, there are also tender moments ... With his frank, empathetic tone and no-nonsense prose, Andre Perry is a fresh American voice that demands to be heard.
... [a] beautiful, brilliant, bold debut collection of essays ... there is a rare sharpness that is dramatically effective in young writers, especially for a debut collection ... These essays are ballads, images from the self, isolated and marginalized in other countries and in his own land. These are songs of identity and sexuality and expectations the world has of African American males. The only complaint this reader has is that there were not more essays about music, and about life in Hong Kong. Here's hoping this book will mark the start of a long and varied journey for Perry. If the goal of a literary traveler is to show how connected we are to one another, his debut collection is an assured indication of deeper glories yet to come.