Reading “Even The Stars Look Lonesome”

I really enjoy this book. The prose is deliberately poetic, but with none of those affected erudition that’s hard to understand. From its deliberate simplicity, wisdom and wit are conveyed. I don’t think she meant to be funny but there are many humorous places–the marriage to end all marriages, abstract figures that only their labor is concrete. I can’t help comparing my own consciousness with Maya Angela’s. I know she’s such a towering figure and I feel quite undeserving in doing this, but still I just can’t help it. Maya grew up as a minority and she often writes in both ways–how she feels and how other people feel about her, both equally important. She really knows how to explore both angles and present it in a non-preaching way. I didn’t grow up as a minority and only became an Asian immigrant as an adult. I am more concerned about my own consciousness and opinions, often not aware how other people perceive me.

I really like the last two stories, the one about how she gave hints to her favorite step-father and the last one, in which Maya talked about black women’s dignity and resourcefulness. I almost cried. If I were not doing something else at the time and only had a portion of my attention in the book–I usually listen to the audiobook while doing daily chores–I would really cry hard. I need to re-listen to it again to catch all those phrases she used to describe such trauma that combine rebelliousness with humanity, sadness with strength.

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