Literaryswag Book Club's Pick for October: Margo Jefferson's Negroland

In last month's discussion on Random Family we discussed how poverty wasn't a circumstance but a condition. More than the physical representation of where you lived, went to school, how much money was in your bank account and who you knew. Poverty is about the way you understand and internalize your own self worth. Many of the characters in the book were trapped in many ways by poverty. They tried to escape in the ways they could but no one knew the way out. This doesn't mean poverty can't be escaped, it just means there needs to be a deeper interrogation of what it means to be poor in the wealthiest nation in the world. There are many valuable lessons poverty teaches you—humility, the importance of family, sticking by your word (cause that's all any of us had). All these lessons came with a price—so the question for many of us, who grew up poor, became which of those experiences are valuable enough to keep, and which ones do you leave behind? It's the conundrum of moving on, which is why I felt that Margo Jefferson's NBCC award-winning memoir Negroland would be a great pick for this month's Literaryswag Book Club.

Even though Jefferson is a product of the black middle class, you get to see how the fear of failure creates for her and her family the unfair pressure to succeed and be a "credit to the race" at all costs. This pressure ironically also locks them in an impoverished condition akin to the characters in Random Family. In what ways? You'll have to attend the next book club to find out. Our next meeting takes place Thursday, October 27th at 7pm at The Brooklyn Circus (150 Nevins St., Brooklyn, NY). Be there!

Also, the first 10 people to buy a Literaryswag Enamel Pin get a free copy of this book along with their purchase!!! 

And if you just want to buy the book, and not spend a lot of money, I got you. Below are two links. One for affordable paperbacks. Another for affordable hardcovers. See you on the 27th!

Jennelle Gordon