Tuesday, May 17, 2016

97. "Loving Day" by Mat Johnson

Johnson, Mat. Loving Day. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2015.
287 pages.
Reviewed by J. d'Artagnan Love

DISCLAIMER: I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPOSIS: Warren's father has just died and he has inherited an old, historical house in Germantown, Philadelphia. The house is in horrible disrepair and Warren is broke having just gone through a nasty divorce. When he meets his daughter for the first time, life starts to get even more complicated.

WHAT I LOVED: Johnson does an amazing job of exploring mixed race identity. His writing is eloquent and purposeful. He depicts the inner conflict of his characters as a result of their outward appearance and the impact of cultural marginalization on self concept and worldview. There is an honesty in his story telling that is cutting and blunt.

There is also some dark humor that tickled me to no end. From ghostly crackheads to clumsy use of a taser, the humor made me laugh out loud and it caused ILS--inappropriate laughing syndrome (not an actual diagnosis). You know when you're in public and then you reflect on something funny in your head and laugh and people look at you like you're crazy? Yeah, this book caused this to happen in my life.

WHAT I LIKED: I liked the way the story explored alternative lifestyles and non-normative relationships in a way that neither demonized nor exoticized them. I liked that even though the story is framed from a male perspective, the depiction of women was not misogynistic.

I also appreciated the historical references. Not only was this a wonderful work of fiction but the elements of nonfiction presented learning opportunities.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Everyone. This is the first work of fiction I've read that explores mixed race identity so clearly, artistically, and sensitively.

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: I can't really think of anyone who wouldn't benefit from reading this book.

5 darts out of 5

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