Men We Reaped is Jesmyn Ward’s memoir of growing up in poor, small-town Mississippi and how the tragic deaths of five young black men shaped her life. Moving seamlessly back and forth through time, she chronicles her childhood to her post-college years of job searching and overwhelming grief for those taken by addiction, violence, and other manifestations of poverty. While Men We Reaped focuses on Ward’s own life and the those of five lost men, the story it tells is much larger in scope.
“By the time we’d moved into that rambling, lopsided wooden house, I’d already fallen in love with reading. I think my love for books sprang from my need to escape the world I was born into, to slide into another where words were straightforward and honest, where there was clearly delineated good and evil, where I found girls who were strong and smart and creative and foolish enough to fight dragons, to run away from home to live in museums, to become child spies, to make new friends and build secret gardens.”
Jesmyn Ward is an American professor, novelist, and memoirist. Her books include Salvage the Bones, Where the Line Bleeds, and Men We Reaped. Raised in Mississippi, she now teaches English at Tulane University in New Orleans.
Length: 256 pages
Main Setting: DeLisle and Pass Christian, Mississippi, U.S.
Secondary Setting: New York City, New York, U.S.
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