Black Enough is a wonderful collection of young adult short stories centered around being young and black in America. The authors put forward works they hope will speak to teens and encourage them to be themselves in the face of a world that does not respect or even always acknowledge them. Many of these stories are intersectional, as authors show that often people are judged for where their identities intersect because other people can’t immediately categorize them or fit them into a box that they understand.
I found that despite not being a person of color myself or being a teenager, although I am still young, I was able to connect with the majority of the characters and learn from their experiences. Not all of the stories were my cup of tea, and that’s okay. I found some of them to be corny, although now that I’m writing this I can’t remember specifically which ones.
One of the stories that stuck out to me the most was about a Hackathon, a computer coding camp that the main character visited over the course of three years leading up to his attending college where the Hackathon was held. The main character ends up spending more time pining after a woman he has had a crush on since his very first summer camp. The story shows that while she is front and center in his mind, she is a person who is working on herself and experiencing her own life, going through her own changes. In the end, she makes choices that have nothing to do with him, and he has to accept those changes. Fortunately he does, and does not pursue her.
I do remember struggling to connect with Ibi Zoboi’s work the most, oddly enough. I’ve never read anything from her before although I have her novel American Street on my shelf waiting to be read. I have heard great things about her and was expecting to fall in love with her story. Despite not connecting with it, however, I did appreciate the uniqueness of her style. I was reminded of how I feel reading Zadie Smith’s novels thus far. I haven’t enjoyed any of them, but I appreciate their style and what they have to say about the world.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through the publsher via Edelweiss+.