brittdbean's review against another edition

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5.0

There is a difference between the nonfiction written by someone who has an insatiable and unbridled curiosity and the nonfiction that is birthed from love and appreciation. This book is the latter. A beautiful dedication to a woman who deserves our continued praises and honors. I see why Baldwin loved her.

drsus's review against another edition

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4.0

I read this because we teach A Raisin in the Sun at my high school. I would recommend it for learning about Lorraine Hansberry's interesting life, but the book itself is kind of lackluster. I definitely learned a lot about this author I knew nothing about, and this book shows you that I, and you, should have. She seemed integral to and embedded in the Harlem scene, having formed close relationships with many of the big names you do know. She was black, a lesbian, and a Marxist, so perhaps these things collectively kept her on the fringe. A shame.

aaminahshakur's review against another edition

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5.0

A moving and personal biography of an important artist and activist. Perry writes a loving and critical book that brings Hansberry's forgotten legacy finally to everyone.

axmed's review against another edition

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emotional funny informative inspiring reflective medium-paced

5.0

Lorraine was not a mystic. [...] She believed in human action and responsibility. But she was angry, righteously so. However, calling a public Black person angry was then, as now, a dagger. It was used to suggest moral failure. Like the other passions, anger is often cast as reckless and useless when in the hearts and minds of Black people, perhaps because passion lies in opposition to passive acceptance. Passion moves and insists.

sydklogan's review against another edition

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emotional informative inspiring medium-paced

5.0

Never thought I would cry reading this. Imma do right by you, Lorraine. 

soyouwinagain's review against another edition

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emotional informative reflective medium-paced

4.25

mckelvylaw's review against another edition

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emotional informative reflective medium-paced

4.25

lmurray74's review against another edition

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5.0

A brilliant piece of scholarship that had me falling in love with Lorraine and grieving when she died. There is so much I didn't know about Lorraine Hansberry before reading this book and I wish I had read a book like this a lot sooner. I knew her as the author of A Raisin in the Sun but I didn't know how committed she was to the socialist cause and radical politics. I didn't know about her friendships with James Baldwin and Nina Simone, and her work with Paul Robeson and Du Bois.
Imani Perry comments that this book is less a biography and maybe a third person memoir. Perry spent endless hours with the Lorraine Hansberry archives at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. From this she has woven deep love and admiration, with Lorraine's incisive wit and intellect. It does feel that Lorraine is writing this too, in part. It certainly makes her "spark and sparkle". There are no assumptions made about her life, everything is backed up by Lorraine's words and actions. At times Perry infers that something may have been the case, but there too she is backing it up with Lorraine's words.
Imani Perry is a powerful writer with the ability to to write in an accessible manner without losing deep analysis and critique. I thank her for writing this book and for opening my eyes to the wonder that is Lorraine Hansberry. She never lost her radical being and her commitment to civil rights and equity. There is so much in her life that needs to be known to a much greater audience. Perry writes that Lorraine's story remains in the gaps despite the fact that she was widely influential.
"She did things that were politically dangerous. She was brave and also fearful, experimental and superb. She failed and hurt. Her tradition, then, cannot be reduced to the picture of greatness. It has to entail the vagaries of imagination and the many circumstances that excite it" (p. 3).

enoidyam's review against another edition

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4.0

“We are running out of time, the earth is ravaged, our bodies are indefinite; Lorraine reminds us to make use of each moment.”

This book is a moving tribute to Lorraine Hansberry. I didn't know much about Lorraine before reading this, except for having seen her in a section of the James Baldwin documentary recently. It was moving, inspiring, and also frustrating to read so many of her words and actions in the Civil Rights movement that are still so relevant today.

“...Negroes must concern themselves with every single means of struggle: legal, illegal, passive, active, violent and non- violent.... They must harass, debate, petition, boycott, sing hymns, pray on steps--and shoot from their windows when the racists come cruising through their communities.... The acceptance of our condition is the only form of extremism which discredits us before our children...”

2020 Reading Women Challenge #15-A Biography

kcarp's review against another edition

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challenging informative sad slow-paced

4.25