by Sara Voigt (@meaningfulmadness)
I picked up R. Eric Thomas's new book, Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America, Essays (on both audio and e-book) after hearing rave reviews about it. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint.
I am not an easy customer when it comes to essay collections. Often, I find it hard to stay engaged in essay collections, and more often than not, an essay collection takes me a LONG time to finish. This is not the case with Here for It. I started this gem and could not put it down.
R. Eric Thomas talks about hard things, funny things, sad things, outrageous things, all the things with matter-of factness, humor, and a ton of personality. I listened to the audiobook, which is read by Thomas, and it is stellar. I have been on record on the pod lots of times about how I absolutely love when I can hear authors read their own work. Thomas's narration is some of the best I have heard.
While this is an essay collection, to me, it read very much like a memoir. There is a narrative thread that moves throughout the book, as Thomas takes the reader through his childhood, chronicallying his life with his hard-working, loving parents who sacrificed everything for their children, his K-12 school days in several different schools, his college years as he wrestles with his sexuality and identity, and on into his life as a successful writer for Elle online. He discusses hard topics like the intersection of his homosexuality with his faith, what it means to be Black in America, and how he was able to move through his devastation at the results of the 2016 election. And seriously so much more. But he also discusses decidedly less hard topics like the fact that Love Actually is a movie filled with horrible characters (except Emma Thompson's character), but that you literally can't stop watching it. (Shameless Plug: Listen to Jen's and my heated discussion on Love Actually in Episode 104), his desire to have the entirety of three Whitney Houston albums sang at his wedding, and his decision to shed his shirt to show off his one (singular) ab in a PRIDE parade. I found myself laughing out loud as I listened to Thomas tell these hilarious stories in his own voice. In fact, I laughed out loud more times than I can count.
If you are looking for a book that contains an excellent balance of self-exploration, societal exploration, and hilarity, look no further than Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America, Essays. I loved it. Also, you will definitely want to check out R. Eric Thomas's Elle column, Eric Reads the News. It is equally fantastic. Also, I want to be R. Eric Thomas's best friend. But don't tell him that. That would be weird. No, but really, in all seriousness, check out this book!
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