Between The World and Me is a series of letters written by author Ta-Nehisi Coates to his 15-year-old son. The letters consist of racial history and walks us through Coates life from a impoverish child in a hard part of Baltimore to attending Harvard.
Between The World and Me was our book clubs pick for January of this year. I was really proud of the book club for choosing this book because not only is in non fiction, it is on a hard subject. I was excited to discuss such a book as a group. For myself, Between The World and Me was at times fascinating, Coates, has a wonderful way with worlds that made me think about things more deeply… but towards the end of this book I found myself a bit exhausted by what started to feel like heavy negativity towards our world and felt as though their was little hope for someone born African-American. When I finished the book I was not really sure, and I am still not, on how I feel about it. I am glad I had the opportunity to read it, however as I am a white woman, I can not express with any certainty of if what Coates is saying is how it is. I have not walked in his shoes.
The book club discussion was everything I had hoped it would be. Over delicious food and wine, we discussed our feelings about the book. Granted, we are a group of mostly mid-western women but I think we did a good job of discussing what is happening in our world today (Minneapolis is 2 1/3 hours from where we live and there has been recent issues there with African-Americans and the police) as well as around the US. Coates, we agreed did a good job of sharing what it was like for himself to grow up as he did, however most of us agreed that these letters to his son were fairly heavy for a 15-year-old, and in my opinion, left a hopeless sort of feeling for any positive future.
This was one of those discussions I wish I would have recorded. It was passionate and deeper in a direction we have never gone before as a group.
Over all the book rated just below an average rating for us. Some liked it less and some a little more.
Between The World and Me brings much to be discussed and the discussion flows almost without questions. For reading groups that have been together a while, this book will take you to another level. Groups may experience a difference in opinion on how they feel about this book and that makes for good discussion.
Ask your group to write down their favorite quotes from the book to be discussed.
Have your groups share current issues from the news involving race and discuss.