Black Is the Body by Emily Bernard

Black Is the Body

An extraordinary, exquisitely written memoir (of sorts) that looks at race--in a fearless, penetrating, honest, true way--in twelve telltale, connected, deeply personal essays that explore, up-close, the complexities and paradoxes, the haunting memories and ambushing realities of growing up black in the South with a family name inherited from a white man, of getting a PhD from Yale, of marrying a white man from the North, of adopting two babies f...

Details Black Is the Body

TitleBlack Is the Body
Release DateJan 29th, 2019
PublisherKnopf Publishing Group
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Writing, Essays, Race, Cultural, African American

Reviews Black Is the Body

  • K
    Wow *cracks knuckles* this book y'all. The introduction and first essay is amazing. So amazing that I had to put the book down and grasp for air. After that, it seemed as though the book went downhill for me, for several reasons. I have a lot in common with the author of this book. I grew up in the south and moved to the North. My mother's family resides on the same historical land that they have since the end of (and during) slavery. I entered w...
  • Tricia Nociti
    Profound, compelling, relatable, and full of purpose. A new and important addition to the conversation of race and privilege going on in America right now. Ms. Bernard shares the story of her stabbing, her black physical body and also her black cultural body experience. Her willingness to share her vulnerability is apparent and I appreciated it very much. I was struck with a visceral reaction when she confessed to her internal struggles and belie...
  • Traci at The Stacks
    The earlier essays were good. I could really relate to her thinking and experiences. However as the book went on they felt repetitive. I think overall it could’ve been less. Also worth saying. This is a book filled with intimate small essays not essays on giant trauma. It’s not about the pain of blackness. It’s about Bernard’s experiences as a black woman.
  • Awkward Book Nook
    Teen fantasy is my staple, so this is definitely a change of pace. Also, this review is coming from a white woman who lives in the South, in a place that is 76% white, and racial tension and prejudices are fairly common.This book is written so well and felt so genuine. After the first story (which blew my mind), the essays taper off in pace. But I was already captivated by her words. I loved the contrasts and comparisons to her life in the south ...
  • Kate
    A definite contender for my personal best books of 2019 list! This book is a gift. I savored every essay.
  • Esther Gulli
    Spectacular! An amazing tapestry of essays woven together with grace and elegance. Bernard’s book should be required reading for all first year college students. Her reflections on race and otherness are deep and thought provoking. But what I found most moving were her essays on family - her childhood growing up in Nashville and family pilgrimages to Mississippi - the life she’s created in her new home in Vermont with her Italian husband and ...
  • Kate
    Just read this in one sitting. Insightful and beautifully written essays.
  • SharonMO
    I found each essay captivatingly intimate. I especially love how Emily expresses her deliberations and honest interpretations of life and humanity. Black Is The Body is a fluid, lovely, meaningful read.If you value motherhood, family, friendship, culture and human connections, you will love this book!
  • Kristin
    A beautiful essay collection about the complexities of living in a black female body in America. Lyrical and literary. Personal and communal.
  • Leo Arnold
    Interesting perspective on race relations. Author began writing when hospitalized after being stabbed by a white man.
  • Leena Dbouk
    I'm usually not a memoir fan but from page one I found Emily Bernards writing compelling, honest and insightful. She opened my eyes to things like adoptive motherhood and various challenges we face when talking about race in America. I only wish she had challenged non black Americans more on their use of language and perspective. Regardless, I really felt this was a fantastic introduction to intersectionality.
  • Ciera
    I am black—and brown, too: Brown is the body I was born into. Black is the body of the stories I tell.Perhaps it’s because she’s an academic, but the ways in which Bernard went about discussing race, more so in her personal life than in her essays, or, I suppose, those essays that focused more on her personal life, was strange and a bit...pressing to me. In one essay she talks about writing a friend whose farm her daughters stay at in the s...
  • Ben Truong
    Black Is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother's Time, My Mother's Time, and Mine is an anthology of semi-autobiographical personal essays about the black female experience over three generations and was written by Emily Bernard. The theme of this anthology is about race – particularly being black in a world that by default is considered white.In a dozen deep, unflinchingly honest, and openly questioning essays, Bernard highlights what it is li...
  • Misha
    Bernard is a professor in Vermont, married to a white man who is also a professor in the English department at UVM. These essays explore race, racism, violence, interracial marriage, adoption, life as a black woman in predominantly white spaces (and the second whitest state in the nation, second to Maine), as well as raising twin girls adopted from Ethiopia. A thoughtful, personal but also academic meditation on being a black body in a society wh...
  • Kyle
    I picked this book up after hearing an interview with Dr. Bernard on NPR. During the interview she did a reading from her essay, Black is the Body in which she overheard her six year old twin daughters becoming aware of race after seeing a commercial about Black History month:"See we're black," Giulia said the Isabella."No we're brown," Isabella responded."Yeah, but they call it black," Giulia explained.
  • Amanda
    A deeply personal book of essays with an academic lens that explores the life of a Black woman in different stages of her career and family. She delves into the international adoption of her twin girls, her interracial relationship and how both those huge events play out in her understanding of her own race and perception. Perfect for Black History Month.
  • Patty
    I couldn't quite absorb this book by reading it so I downloaded the audio book. It was better listening to it, but I will need to do so again to fully appreciate what the author is trying to say. I look forward to listening again.
  • Gin Ferrara
    Thoughtful, complex, and no easy answers. Emily Bernard explores motherhood, adoption, family legacies race, and identity in this collection of raw yet lyrical essays. The words flew off the page and got under my skin.
  • Lisa Porter
    Emily Bernard, what a story teller! Loved this book. I laughed, cried, reflected, and learned. Can’t wait to read it again. Emily’s words are magic. Some parts I just want to read over and over again because the writing is so beautiful.
  • Violeta
    Bernard’s essays are thoughtful and complex. Her writing on race, motherhood, place, and the various intersections of those across generations, will stay with me long after reading this book.
  • Katie Bruell
    Amazingly honest stories. I'm so grateful that Emily Bernard lets us into her life.
  • Colleen
    Really loved Bernard's intimate perspective on being a black woman, the loneliness, fear, frustration, and pride. A powerful read!
  • Carly Thompson
    3.5 Stars. I liked the essays about her maternal family and adopting twins from Ethiopia. A good book for readers who enjoy personal essay collections.