Ta-Nehisi Coates Review


Tori Shamlian, Senior Layout Editor

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is a provocative book inciting deeper thought about race relations in the United States. Clocking in at 152 pages, it may seem to be a short read, but that thought rests on the assumption that Coates’s writing is simplistic. Instead, Coates has complex thought processes and implores readers to reflect on their own role in the systemic racism of the country and how it affects others. He does this by positioning the reader to look through the eyes of him and his relationship with his son. The whole book is framed as a letter to his son, giving advice and discussing his observations as life as a black man. To add even more of a personal touch, photos from Coates’s life are interspersed within the pages. Between the World and Me is a National Book Award winner and a New York Times Bestseller, so if the premise of the book is not compelling enough, feel secure in the fact that many others agree that it’s worth the time diving into the mind of Coates. He brings in many examples that avid news-readers may recognize more than others (although the book was published in 2015, so there is a slight time gap). However, these examples serve to connect the abstract concepts Coates discusses and ground them in concrete evidence. The instances from the news are juxtaposed with more intimate anecdotes and feelings from Coates’s own life, bringing in a great deal of emotion. This book is a sophisticated discussion concerning race in the United States and how it applies to one man’s life, as well as his relationship with his son, telling him what he wishes he knew when he was younger. I highly recommend this novel to anyone that wants to broaden their horizons by delving into a social justice topic and feeling more of an emotional connection to the real people that racism in the United States affects.