Book Review: The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

September 1, 2020

Look, The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates is a well-written book with beautiful language, but my rating/review is probably (mostly?) more about WHEN I am reading it than the book itself.

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The truth is this is a book club pick and if it were up to me, it is not what I would be reading. I have also read a lot (A LOT) of slave narratives and books about slavery. If I were new to the books about the slave experience game, I might feel differently about it.

I liked the language, I liked that this was about the power of stories, and I liked the examination of what family really means. I especially appreciated the way the women in the story were written and the commentary on whiteness.

I am not sure how I feel about conduction being actual magic because the fact of surviving and/or escaping from slavery IS a form of magic and, again, having read actual slave narratives, I don’t want anything to diminish that fact. (I’m not saying that’s what Coates is doing here AT ALL–I’m just saying that’s how I feel about the fantasy element.) Again, if I focus on it as a metaphor for or commentary on the importance of storytelling, it works. If I take it as fantasy, meh. Actually, if I take it as fantasy, it makes me really, really angry, so.

That said, I did finish the book and I was invested in seeing how it ends. I’m just not super interested in books about the systemic and historical violence against Black people in this country right now. GO FIGURE.

And, yes, I cross-posted that review from Goodreads. And, yes, I also did a stand alone book review post for the first time since…some day in the past.

Also, if you don’t follow me on Instagram, look at how you’re missing out on me posting dope quotes from books:

And, I guess, since some of you still need the reminder:

stop killing us black lives matter
Black Lives Matter

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1 Comment

  1. The Widow Badass

    I had this book in my Holds list from the library and it came to me at a time when I was inundated with other books/projects/life. So I had to release it again, so others on the waiting list could read. I’m going to search it out again. Thanks, Akilah.



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