Friday, February 24, 2023

Nine titles that rethink our narratives about health & healing

Maggie Laurel Boyd is a PhD Candidate, Teaching Fellow and Writing Fellow at Boston University. She is currently writing a dissertation on contemporary US and Irish narratives of healing.

At Electric Lit she tagged nine books that help us "rethink our existing narratives about healing and recognize that if our arc of recovery deviates from the template, then at least we’re in good company." One title on the list:
Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward

It has become a truism that “healing isn’t linear” a concept that Ward makes literal and also the subject of scrutiny in her 2013 memoir. Her reflections on the young Black men she has lost represents an utterly unique approach to narrating one’s own past, especially significant amid the current memoir boom. In alternating chapters, Ward moves forward in time from the 1970s and backward in time from 2004, desperate to make sense of the loss of her brother by approaching it from every angle. This structure prompts readers to see traces of the past in the present and of the present in the past. With heartbreaking honesty, Ward endeavors to show the tangled, traumatic reality of living with grief and of how healing can be strikingly nonlinear. Indeed, Ward reveals herself to be less healed than haunted, except in Ward’s framing, the haunting is itself a privilege, a reminder of her loved ones’ enduring presence. The memoir functions as an ode to these men’s lives, a critique of the systems that endangered them, and a testament to storytelling for its power to sustain connections.
Read about another entry on the list.

Men We Reaped is among Matthew Gavin Frank’s eleven books featuring flying things.

--Marshal Zeringue