What does one write about a book that has everything written in it? How does one express the multitudes of emotions felt through a book spanning across 200 years in just under 800 pages? How does one thank the author who invested 11 years of her life to bring to you this mammoth of a family saga to represent millions of families in the United States?
Anything I write about this book will not do justice to it, so instead I emphasize that you ABSOLUTELY MUST read it.
You ask me why?
The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois is an ode to women – specifically Black women, to mothers, to survivors, to those in pain, to those recovering. It’s an ode to their loss, their grief, their strength, their sacrifices, their resilience, their conviction and their will to never stop moving forward.
I had the most profound time reading this book. I am neither Black nor Native American and yet I felt seen, I was also educated throughout. I have invested a month in this book, not only on the tale being told but also researching the history brought to light by the author in the most lyrical format.
I appreciated the Songs and chapter format which ran in parallel to narrate the tale. The Songs told the tale of the ancestors while the chapters put light on the life of Ailey Pearl Garfield. I waited with bated breath for the two storylines to merge and had my fingers crossed hoping that the transition would be smooth, I’m glad to say it was even better!
I knew I was reading a perfect work of historical fiction because the author skillfully leads you to exactly that event in history which she’d like you to read up and learn about. This is the exact reason why I had the most fun researching (you can find all of it in my highlights) and this is why learning felt natural.
Through her debut novel, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers has established herself a historian masquerading as a masterful storyteller. @honoree_jeffers ma’am, I thank you for bringing this story out into the world. There aren’t enough words to express how this book has impacted the life of a woman sitting half way across the globe. 🙏🏻