Emily Bernard (Doubleday)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 stars)
A memoir told in essays, Black Is the Body is a candid collection that explores the multifaceted life of scholar, mother and Black woman, Emily Bernard. “This book was conceived in a hospital”, her opening line, reflects the candid nature of her writing, but interwoven in the mundane are striking revelations about the nature of identity and Blackness. Bernard is a talented writer – I was enthralled by her words, drawn into the tapestries woven by her language that manifest glimpses into her life experiences. Bernard begins by describing her ethos, you can follow her internal negotiations as she explores the book’s purpose before settling on a conclusion. She arrives at a principle of honesty, committed to employing “a new way of telling; I wanted to tell the truth about life as I have lived it”. Though this book was born out of violence – she was in hospital recovering from a stabbing – these stories are the “salve” that heals a wound that transcends skin, ripping into the fabric of identity.