Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
Goodreads Summary: Jade believes she must get out of her neighborhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother says she has to take every opportunity. She has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From “bad” neighborhoods.
But Jade doesn’t need support. And just because her mentor is black doesn’t mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.
Friendships, race, privilege, identity—this compelling and thoughtful story explores the issues young women face.
Maxine is right and wrong. Those girls are not the opposite of me. We are perpendicular. We may be on different paths, yes. But there’s a place where we touch, where we connect and are just the same.
When you read a book, don’t you ever think that the author intended to write the book specifically for you? That’s what I felt while reading Piecing Me Together. It’s a heartwrenching story about a black girl who simply wants to be seen and not mended.
There’s, unfortunately, a lot of prejudices that young black girls have to face today. There are perceived as not smart, not creative and not ambitious. Throughout my entire life, I had these same prejudices thrown at me, especially since all throughout grade school, I stood out because there weren’t really a lot of other black girls. With Jade, she’s going through these same struggles. However, we see that she’s brilliant, she’s artistic and she has a lot of ambition that runs in her veins.
Piecing me Together stresses that black girls need to be seen as equal, as beautiful. Black girls need more opportunities to rise up in the world, not just the SAT prep, extra tutoring, mentorship or any other activities that are about “fixing” them. I’m talking about giving them an actual chance to use their talents and giving them experience.
And this makes me wonder if a black girl’s life is only about being stitched together and coming undone, being stitched together and coming undone.
The book also explores the everyday racism black people have to endure, sexism, rape culture, and police brutality. There are conversations on privilege, both in the perspectives of a black teen and a black woman. Jade also talks about body image and self-confidence and most of the time, she loves the way she looks but sometimes she doesn’t and that’s okay.
It’s hard to review a book that relates to me so much. I love Jade but her mentor, Maxine is also a compelling character. We see that Maxine isn’t the perfect Mentor, as she sometimes flakes and gets caught up with her own drama. Jade almost acts like she’s the mentor to Maxine because Jade is the ultimately the person that turns Maxine around. I still couldn’t help but fall in love with Maxine because although her Jade doesn’t have the same kind of struggles, they still face a lot of the problems black women face today.
At school, with my white friends and teachers, there were all these stereotypes I felt I had to dispel, and, with a lot of my black friends, I had to prove that I was black enough—whatever that means. It was complicated,
The book is less than 300 pages but it packs a punch like no other. If you happen to be a black teenager reading this review, you are beautiful, you are heard, you matter.
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