“I Will Not Be Erased”: Our stories about growing up as people of colour by gal-dem
Published: 2019 by Walker Books
Genre(s): Nonfiction, Anthology
Thank you so much Pansing for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! gal-dem’s “I Will Not Be Erased”: Our stories about growing up as people of colour is available at all good bookstores.
Before I begin with this review, which will probably place me at the risk of sounding insensitive and maybe even ignorant, I would like to apologize in advance in case I accidentally offend anyone. I read this book as a person of colour living in her multi-ethnic and multi-cultural homeland where racism, sexism, homophobia, political unrest and more are rampant (I’ve once been told by a non-person of colour that my country is “inhumane” because of this). This review is a result of reading from that perspective, and it is merely comprised of my opinions. Again, I apologize in advance should I accidentally offend anyone.
gal-dem’s “I Will Not Be Erased”: Our stories about growing up as people of colour is an anthology of essays by 14 young people of colour, all written like letters addressed to their younger selves. The intention of these amazing people sharing their stories is to have their voice heard and resonate with others who are similar in various aspects. The personal and honest style—these letter-like essays, should be prefect for this intention, yet I find that it has instead created a barrier between the writer and the reader. No matter how hard I tried, I was unable to step into their shoes, unable to momentarily slip into this glimpse of their life. This, in turn, made the anthology it less emotional and less relatable to me. What’s missing in these nonfiction pieces are what fictional pieces (and some other nonfiction pieces I’ve read) can achieve—the ability to place someone in someone else’s shoes no matter how different they are.
Furthermore, because of the style, there is more telling than showing, less confiding in a friend and more a serious mentor teaching their mentee a life lesson. Thus, there are times when reading gets boring. The topics touched in this anthology are all that I’m greatly interested in. However, because some parts aren’t as engaging as others, I find my attention wandering. It’s a bit like sitting in a class for a subject you love with all of your heart, but because the teacher’s monotonous voice creates this perception of them not being as involved or as passionate, that your own interest wanes.
Nevertheless, the 14 essays here holds comfort and reassurance. This anthology is powerful and diverse and (finally!) ‘inclusive’ enough. They are important and the voices here should be heard and echoed by as many as possible.