Book Review-May 2021: How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones

Shameless plug: follow Saeed on Twitter (@theferocity).

I am a fan of Saeed Jones. I have been for the last four years and his indelible wit and petty on Twitter. When I found out he was a writer, I was a fan.

Sight, unread.

I give that privilege to very few.

The memoir is unflinching, heartbreaking and essential reading. His writing style sucks you in and invites you to stay a while with snacks! From his childhood in Texas, his Buddist mother and clearly homophobic grandmother, Saeed will make you think, examine, and want to fight the dusty, little white boy that called him a faggot from behind a door. You will cheer when you find out how he got to college on the strength of his brilliance and prowess with the English language.

What I loved about this book was his honesty. His complete honesty, especially as it relates to mother. In bold memory, Saeed recalls how and when his mother became sick (and hints to her early death in an elegy before the memoir begins). He talks about his desire to go to New York University and how he found his mother in front of her altar in tears because she couldn’t afford to send him. He talks about her smoking, about them talking around and at each other, rather than to each other. And when she found out he was gay through an AOL chat room?!

When he talked about all the sex he had through college, and how is mom just reminded him to ‘use condoms’!

When he talked about the Botanist! WHEW.

Yet, Saeed telling his story–with no punches, with no flinching–made me respect him. It made me cry for him. It made want to wrap my arms around him! I know what it is like to lose a parent, and at the same time realize that without them their would be no you!

But it was in this book, I found out what the word ferocity meant. It is this determination to live your life, on your terms in the face of everything else! In spite of mistakes, chaos, people not accepting you, despite all that is against you–you live anyway.

Keep the ferocity dear Torches, keep it.

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