No Country for Odd Men
Padlock IconThis article is only a portion of the full article. If you are already a premium subscriber please login. If you are not a premium subscriber, please subscribe for access to all of our content.

Published in: May-June 2023 issue.


by Prince Shakur
Tin House Books. 296 pages, $27.95


IN THE NEW MEMOIR When They Tell You to Be Good, author Prince Shakur explores a slice of America that’s seldom visited: first-generation queer Caribbean immigrants growing up in the Midwest. He invites us to bear witness as he negotiates the often treacherous borders of race, sexuality, and Jamaican culture. Much of the book revolves around his journey to uncover the truth about his father’s death and to reimagine what his life might have been like had he received the parenting that he needed. There’s an adolescent angst and young adult pathos in the memoir to which we can all relate. Shakur reminds us that there is no guidebook for young, queer Black boys and men.

            In this memoir, Shakur searches for emotional and political meaning in a country that can no longer hide from its racist past.

To continue reading this article, please LOGIN or SUBSCRIBE

Cary  Alan Johnson, a writer, activist, and Africanist, is the author of the novel Desire Lines (Querelle Press, 2022).


Read More from Cary Alan Johnson