Review: How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones

I’m not sure exactly what I thought this book would be. I knew it was a memoir dealing with LGBTQIA+ issues. I guess I assumed it would be violent, because the title. There was some violence. But overall, How We Fight for Our Lives is subtle.

I listened to this book as an audiobook narrated by the author, and I’m so glad I did. It felt like it gave it some personal depth.

I can’t say I enjoyed this book. A lot of it was unhappy experiences. But I do feel like it was a worthwhile read. As a white person in a heterosexual relationship, I feel like a good deal of my reading should focus on people that have had different life experiences than me. Reading helps me understand the world, but only if I don’t read all stories about people like me. This book is not about a person like me.

I spent some time after I finished this one reflecting on the title. What I decided is that when I hear “fight for our lives,” I picture the violent struggle, when sometimes it means the equally frightening internal struggle. The author spent a long time trying to figure out what his identity meant to him and to the world. In that time, he suffered a lot, both at the hands of other people and himself. Having finished the book, I realize that he fought a lot just to make it this far.

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