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Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown book review


Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown book review

Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown book review

Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown this book is described as like part memoir, part contemporary story with a bit of fabulism mixed into it all. 

So in this story you are following a character named Echo Brown. She is a black girl growing up in I believe Cleveland, Ohio. She lives on the east side of town, which is like the poor side of town in a like basically all-black neighborhood.

This story basically follows her over the course of like her like childhood through high school kind of. This is one of those books that's gonna be really hard for me to summarize, if that wasn't already apparent. 

So the way this book is written it's almost as if someone is telling you the story of their life after they've already kind of grown up a little bit. And so she kind of just starts off talking about things that happened in her childhood. 

Her mother was addicted. She didn't know who her biological father was. Her stepfather was around kind of but he also had some drinking problems as well. They didn't have a whole lot of money growing up. 

They often went hungry. A lot of times in order to eat they went to like their neighbor's house, things along those lines. 

And then you sort of like see like all of these different events that occur to her and her friends in this neighborhood. And you watch her basically just like grow up. 

She does pretty well in school and ends up going to a school on the west side of town, which is the nicer part of town, and she starts to see even more like the disparity between herself and these other kids 

who have always grown up on the west side of town and been around certain privileges and things along those lines. And all in the midst of this, there is this sort of story of her also being wizard kind of. 

So the way this book is like marketed and pitched makes it sound like this is like a fantasy novel. So like even on the front it says like, "the remarkable story of a teenage wizard."

And when I picked up the book, I was expecting like a fantasy book where maybe it was set in our current world or something along those lines but you know there's this person who is a wizard and you expect it to be sort of like magical and things like that. 

That is a not what this book is and I feel like a lot of people are gonna jump into this with incorrect expectations for this book. 

This really feels like a contemporary book but it has fabulism elements woven into it. And so the way this book is structured, the magical elements are like real but they're also mostly a metaphor. 

Echo Brown comes from a line of wizards basically. She gained this ability from her mother and she also eventually learned that there are other wizards around her and things like that. But the way that the wizard system whatever is set up is basically like if black girl magic was a real thing. 

So because of the difficulties and circumstances that they're surrounded with, it's almost like their internal strength manifests itself into like actual magic. 

So I kind of wanted to say that off the bat because again the way this book is marketed, like the summary of it on Goodreads and everything along those lines, that subtitle 

I just read, makes it sound like this is like a fantasy book but it's not. But I adored this book and I really, really enjoyed the way that it utilizes this like sort of magical wizard idea in order to talk about the strength that black women specifically have. This book talks about a lot of different things. 

And I can see for some people it might be like a little bit too much. Like I mentioned, her parents are addicts, there's like one point in time where there's like a fire in their apartment and their mothers passed out and they almost die. 

There's discussions in here about just like friendship and love, about people dying really early because of the circumstances of the neighborhood that they live in.

There's discussions in here about depression and obviously about like poverty and class structures and things along those lines. 

But it also is just like another coming-of-age story where it talks about things like friendship and love and falling in love for the first time and crushes and things along those lines. There's discussions in here about colorism. 

The character Echo Brown is a darker skinned black woman and so she talks about-- and she has like kinky hair and things along those lines and she talks about how she feels like she's ugly because of those things. 

I feel like this book is like really just like beautiful and powerful. It's heartbreaking. It's completely heartbreaking at times. 

I just like wanted to cry at some of the events that this character has to go through while also like recognizing that this is a thing that there are a decent amount of people that have to go through this on a regular basis. 

There's also like a really unique way that this book is written. Because Echo is a wizard, it goes into more details in this book but basically what she's kind of able to do is like kind of stop time and also kind of like time travel sort of. It's hard to explain without like just going into full details about the book. 

But it's sort of like when something is happening to her, she kind of like freezes time or slows time down and then she sort of like melds that with other memories that she has. 

And sometimes those things are to like influence the people that are in that like current moment, and sometimes it's a self-preservation move, things like that. But there's like this really interesting way that Echo Brown writes it, which I don't even know if you're gonna be able to see on screen. 

But basically she like puts these paragraph breaks and there are like dashes in between the paragraph breaks and it's like one sentence kind of flows into the next in those paragraph breaks. So it's very like almost cinematic in a way. 

Like while I was reading this book, I was like, oh this would actually make like a really cool scene in a movie. 

And it happens multiple times throughout the book and so every time I just kept imagining it in my head in the way that I could see like scenes fading in. 

And out and kind of how if you watch like TV shows and movies like one character will be talking and then another character will basically like pick up from those last couple of words and then they'll continue on in a different way. 

And Echo Brown kind of does that with this book. She kind of goes back and forth in these waves with these scenes and it's really like beautiful and interesting and compelling 

I really enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. Like stuff like that can come off is like really gimmicky. But to me I felt like it worked so well. Like it perfectly blended together the words and the scenes. 

So that like at least in my head I could see the scenes like fading in and out from each other and I could see the characters sort of like talking together but also like being completely separate situations.

And it was just really well done and I think one of the reasons why I love this book so much. Another thing that I really enjoyed in here is this idea of like intergenerational trauma. 

One of the ways again that it manifests itself is this idea of like how the magic and Wizard lineage sort of continues on. And I don't want to give too much of that away

but I feel like this book does a really good job of sort of talking about the ways that intergenerational trauma is a thing and effects you know everyone. And the ways that like black women continue to be oppressed and hurt in the same ways over and over again, generation to generation. 

So yeah, in the end I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars. I think that the only thing that kept this from being a 5 star book for me basically just has to do with like how kind of quickly it can move through things. 

Like I said, it covers a lot of topics and it all felt like very real and it all impacted me but sometimes it just felt like it was covering a lot of topics. 

So yeah, this was almost a 5 star read for me. I highly, highly recommend this book especially if you're someone who likes contemporary books. 

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