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The astonishing journey of a bright, utterly displaced boy, from the short-lived African nation of Biafra, to Jamaica, to the harshest streets of Los Angeles—a searing memoir that adds fascinating depth to the coming-to-America story The first time Chude-Sokei realizes that he is “first son of the first son” of a renowned leader of the bygone African nation is in Uncle Dadd The astonishing journey of a bright, utterly displaced boy, from the short-lived African nation of Biafra, to Jamaica, to the harshest streets of Los Angeles—a searing memoir that adds fascinating depth to the coming-to-America story The first time Chude-Sokei realizes that he is “first son of the first son” of a renowned leader of the bygone African nation is in Uncle Daddy and Big Auntie’s strict religious household in Jamaica, where he lives with other abandoned children. A visiting African has just fallen to his knees to shake him by the shoulders: “Is this the boy? Is this him?” Chude-Sokei’s immersion in the politics of race and belonging across the landscape of the African diaspora takes a turn when his traumatized mother, who has her own extraordinary history as the onetime “Jackie O of Biafra,” finally sends for him to come live with her. In Inglewood, Los Angeles, on the eve of gangsta rap and the LA riots, it’s as if he’s fallen to Earth. In this world, anything alien—definitely Chude-Sokei’s secret obsession with science fiction and David Bowie—is a danger, and his yearning to become a Black American gets deeply, sometimes absurdly, complicated. Ultimately, it is a boisterous pan-African family of honorary aunts, uncles, and cousins that becomes his secret society, teaching him the redemptive skill of navigating not just Blackness, but Blacknesses, in his America.


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The astonishing journey of a bright, utterly displaced boy, from the short-lived African nation of Biafra, to Jamaica, to the harshest streets of Los Angeles—a searing memoir that adds fascinating depth to the coming-to-America story The first time Chude-Sokei realizes that he is “first son of the first son” of a renowned leader of the bygone African nation is in Uncle Dadd The astonishing journey of a bright, utterly displaced boy, from the short-lived African nation of Biafra, to Jamaica, to the harshest streets of Los Angeles—a searing memoir that adds fascinating depth to the coming-to-America story The first time Chude-Sokei realizes that he is “first son of the first son” of a renowned leader of the bygone African nation is in Uncle Daddy and Big Auntie’s strict religious household in Jamaica, where he lives with other abandoned children. A visiting African has just fallen to his knees to shake him by the shoulders: “Is this the boy? Is this him?” Chude-Sokei’s immersion in the politics of race and belonging across the landscape of the African diaspora takes a turn when his traumatized mother, who has her own extraordinary history as the onetime “Jackie O of Biafra,” finally sends for him to come live with her. In Inglewood, Los Angeles, on the eve of gangsta rap and the LA riots, it’s as if he’s fallen to Earth. In this world, anything alien—definitely Chude-Sokei’s secret obsession with science fiction and David Bowie—is a danger, and his yearning to become a Black American gets deeply, sometimes absurdly, complicated. Ultimately, it is a boisterous pan-African family of honorary aunts, uncles, and cousins that becomes his secret society, teaching him the redemptive skill of navigating not just Blackness, but Blacknesses, in his America.

30 review for Floating in a Most Peculiar Way: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    This memoir, is from a man who was born in Biafra, but was also a child of Jamaica and a child of the United States, all the while striving to be a "black American" so he can fit in. It is the story of his life in Jamaica, then in the United States, when he mother finally brings him to live with her, and it is a story of his search for his identity beyond being the "first son of the first son". While I admire the author for attempting to tell this story, much of this fell flat for me. Much of th This memoir, is from a man who was born in Biafra, but was also a child of Jamaica and a child of the United States, all the while striving to be a "black American" so he can fit in. It is the story of his life in Jamaica, then in the United States, when he mother finally brings him to live with her, and it is a story of his search for his identity beyond being the "first son of the first son". While I admire the author for attempting to tell this story, much of this fell flat for me. Much of the story is extremely disjointed [with multiple flashbacks to his time in Jamaica] and there were many moments where I was unsure where the author was, where he was going and what the point of the story he was at that point telling was about. It was again very disjointed and ultimately disappointing. I was hoping for more and while there were parts that were good and illuminating, ultimately, it fell flat for me and I was just glad to be done with it at the end. Thank you to NetGalley, Louis Chude-Sokei, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Susan Eastler

    I loved this memoir! I met Louis and his mother in LA in 1982. Louis seemed liked a typical teen at the time. As a white woman from the Northeast, he was what I thought an LA black kid would be like! His mother and my sister-in-law worked together and had become the best of friends. The three of us spent the day together and I found Louis' mother to be a kind, gentle and beautiful woman. I found this memoir an open and honest portrayal of a difficult upbringing, although painful at times. The sur I loved this memoir! I met Louis and his mother in LA in 1982. Louis seemed liked a typical teen at the time. As a white woman from the Northeast, he was what I thought an LA black kid would be like! His mother and my sister-in-law worked together and had become the best of friends. The three of us spent the day together and I found Louis' mother to be a kind, gentle and beautiful woman. I found this memoir an open and honest portrayal of a difficult upbringing, although painful at times. The surprise to me was the bias amongst the black Americans. It has opened my eyes even wider to the struggles of immigrants and the black community. Thank you for writing this Louis! I will recommend this book to all my reading friends and family!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anneke

    Book Review: Floating In A Most Peculiar Way - A Memoir Author: Louis Chude-Sokei Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication Date: February 2, 2021 Review Date: October 25, 2020 I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the blurb: “The astonishing journey of a bright, utterly displaced boy, from the short-lived African nation of Biafra, to Jamaica, to the harshest streets of Los Angeles—a searing memoir that adds fascinating depth to the coming-to- Book Review: Floating In A Most Peculiar Way - A Memoir Author: Louis Chude-Sokei Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publication Date: February 2, 2021 Review Date: October 25, 2020 I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the blurb: “The astonishing journey of a bright, utterly displaced boy, from the short-lived African nation of Biafra, to Jamaica, to the harshest streets of Los Angeles—a searing memoir that adds fascinating depth to the coming-to-America story. The first time Chude-Sokei realizes that he is “first son of the first son” of a renowned leader of the bygone African nation is in Uncle Daddy and Big Auntie’s strict religious household in Jamaica, where he lives with other abandoned children. A visiting African has just fallen to his knees to shake him by the shoulders: “Is this the boy? Is this him?”   Chude-Sokei’s immersion in the politics of race and belonging across the landscape of the African diaspora takes a turn when his traumatized mother, who has her own extraordinary history as the onetime “Jackie O of Biafra,” finally sends for him to come live with her. In Inglewood, Los Angeles, on the eve of gangsta rap and the LA riots, it’s as if he’s fallen to Earth. In this world, anything alien—definitely Chude-Sokei’s secret obsession with science fiction and David Bowie—is a danger, and his yearning to become a Black American gets deeply, sometimes absurdly, complicated. Ultimately, it is a boisterous pan-African family of honorary aunts, uncles, and cousins that becomes his secret society, teaching him the redemptive skill of navigating not just Blackness, but Blacknesses, in his America. “ —— What a great memoir! Identity often is so difficult to parse and come to terms with. Chude=Sokei’s journey seemed extraordinarily fraught with trauma and difficulty. This book is a tribute to his tenacity to carve out his identity from all the places he lived and was informed by. I found his writing style very easy to ready, and did not want to put down the book. I am glad he was able to come to terms with all the different parts of himself. This is a 5 Star memoir, and I highly recommend reading it, especially if you have interest in the African diaspora. Thank you to Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt for allowing me early access to this book. Best of luck to Louis Chude-Sokei with his continued literary career. This review will be posted on NetGalley, Goodreads, and Amazon. #netgalley #floatinginamostpeculiarway #louischude-sokei #houghtonmifflinharcourt #biafra #africandiaspora

  4. 4 out of 5

    EBirdy

    This book just didn't resonate with me. It got such rave reviews for it's writing and story that I was really looking forward to it. The author didn't seem to like anyone and no one came across as having a very profound or positive influence on him. He didn't seem inspired by anyone or encouraged by anyone, other than one coach in high school whom he mentions briefly. His depictions of Jamaicans and Nigerians were not very flattering - everyone was on the take or wanted something from him - no on This book just didn't resonate with me. It got such rave reviews for it's writing and story that I was really looking forward to it. The author didn't seem to like anyone and no one came across as having a very profound or positive influence on him. He didn't seem inspired by anyone or encouraged by anyone, other than one coach in high school whom he mentions briefly. His depictions of Jamaicans and Nigerians were not very flattering - everyone was on the take or wanted something from him - no one seemed to provide him with anything substantive or positive. It's too bad they only saw him as someone to carry on for his father, and no one seemed to care about who he was as an individual. I found it odd to that he never writes his father's name, nor could I find it anywhere online, despite photos of him. Only the man he is photographed with, the author's godfather, has his name printed. His mother, the only parent he knew, seemed largely not involved in his life and other than her "word of the day or month", which he mentioned repeatedly, didn't seem to have a lot of influence on him. They seemed never able to have talked about anything of importance or about the things he wanted to know about his father etc. He mentions she is ill a couple of times and then almost in passing that she died and he went back to Nigeria to bury her. Little mention of how her death affected him or any emotions he might have felt. The arc of the story wasn't completely linear and I had trouble at times determining what point in time the author was referencing. It's sad that he experienced so much casual violence and sexual experiences that bordered on abuse (based on his age), both at the hands of strangers and people who should have cared about him - what a terrible way to grow up. He talks about these episodes with such a lack of emotion that it's disturbing. The descriptions of the living conditions and the awful state of the people at the hospital in Jamaica were hard to read. And again, not much of a sense of empathy for what they were suffering. He suffered such a horrible injury it's amazing he lived, but there was nothing about struggles he might of had recovering, or how long it took. Almost nothing personal again. The part I found most interesting, because I really wasn't aware of it, was the divisions black people draw between themselves. There is a whole set of prejudices and biases based on where you are from (Jamaica, Nigeria, South Africa) or where you were educated (England, Jamaica, America) and then a whole other scale if you are a Black American. That I found interesting and sad, too. I read memoirs because I find them great ways to learn more about someone's life and usually about the author as a person, too. I didn't feel I knew this author any better at the end of the book than at the beginning, nor did I get a sense of his personal growth. Intellectually and academically he reached the stars, but on a human level there was such detachment and lack of emotion that I didn't feel I connected with his experiences at all. To me a good memoir is a way to connect and understand someone's life that might be completely different from my own. This book missed that mark.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gerry

    4-1/2 stars. Those of us who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s will recall the horrifying photography of starving Biafran children, their bellies swollen grotesquely, their bones barely covered by a thin layer of skin. Louis Chude-Sokei might have been one of those children, but was able to escape Biafra with his mother as a young child. She fled with him to Gabon, and then to Jamaica, where she left him to be cared for for several years while she made her way to America, before eventually brin 4-1/2 stars. Those of us who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s will recall the horrifying photography of starving Biafran children, their bellies swollen grotesquely, their bones barely covered by a thin layer of skin. Louis Chude-Sokei might have been one of those children, but was able to escape Biafra with his mother as a young child. She fled with him to Gabon, and then to Jamaica, where she left him to be cared for for several years while she made her way to America, before eventually bringing him to live with her in NYC and later in LA. Floating in a Most Peculiar Way is Chude-Sokei's memoir of growing up in America, and finding his identity: not completely African, not completely Jamaican, not quite African-American as that culture was understood at the time. Very well written, the memoir recalls the abuse he suffered in Jamaica, the anger he felt as a ten-year-old child toward the mother who had left him there, his confusion about his family (especially his father, one of the leaders of the Biafran independence movement) in Africa, and his struggles as a young man to find his place in this new land. Louis Chude-Sokei is now a writer and scholar at Boston University; his work ranges widely in and around the literary, political and cultural phenomena of the African Diaspora. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the freed ebook download in exchange for an objective review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tiena (aka T)

    Floating in a Most Peculiar Way was an interesting read for me - a memoir of childhood in the middle of the conflict surrounding Biafra/Nigeria Civil War - but not actually that simple. This memoir is a slow burn and it was nothing like I anticipated. Following the early chapters is a complex, multilayered personal narrative rich in both personal and political history and the story of the African diaspora - which, I admit, is a word I've not fully understood and finally learned that it simply me Floating in a Most Peculiar Way was an interesting read for me - a memoir of childhood in the middle of the conflict surrounding Biafra/Nigeria Civil War - but not actually that simple. This memoir is a slow burn and it was nothing like I anticipated. Following the early chapters is a complex, multilayered personal narrative rich in both personal and political history and the story of the African diaspora - which, I admit, is a word I've not fully understood and finally learned that it simply means a scattering of people from their original homeland. This is a story not only of that scattering but also a study of trauma, family, and place.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Schultz

    Read if you: Want a unique memoir from an author who lives/has lived in African, Jamaican, and black communities. Librarians/booksellers: This is a relatively brief but intriguing memoir; recommended. Many thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Edelweiss for a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bookworm

    I was curious to read what sounded like an epic tale of a man who was a "first son of the first son" of a bygone African nation and his travels between Jamaica, the United States, and what it's like living as a Black Man in the United States. Who fled with his mother from Gabon to Jamaica, where he was left as she made her way in the US, and then Chude-Sokei's time living in LA and NY. It sounded really interesting but, unfortunately, it was not. I was surprised to read so many people said they c I was curious to read what sounded like an epic tale of a man who was a "first son of the first son" of a bygone African nation and his travels between Jamaica, the United States, and what it's like living as a Black Man in the United States. Who fled with his mother from Gabon to Jamaica, where he was left as she made her way in the US, and then Chude-Sokei's time living in LA and NY. It sounded really interesting but, unfortunately, it was not. I was surprised to read so many people said they couldn't put it down--I couldn't really keep up with it. It really reads more like a bunch of essays put together as a memoir, but there's no intriguing thread, with an ever-changing cast of characters that all unfortunately blend together instead of showing me the cast that brought Chude-Sokei to where he is today. It felt very disjointed with no cohesive narrative. I'm not really sure what it was that the reader was supposed to get from what should have been a fantastic and amazing story, but I respect that this is Chude-Sokei telling. And I do think there is certainly an audience who would be very interested in his particular background and experiences of immigration and finding a new home. That audience is definitely not me. Also warn you that while he doesn't dwell on it, there are instances of racism, xenophobia, descriptions of sexual abuse or at least questionable sexual activity. Borrowed from the library on a whim but I'd skip this one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Very powerful writing. He writes like a novelist, not an academic. Mostly about tensions among different communities in the African diaspora--people without African heritage shouldn't assume that Africans, Caribbeans, and African-Americans feel solidarity. This isn't new or controversial--even to me--anymore, but it wasn't openly discussed (meaning, among/with white people) not all that long ago, and even now, I feel like it's more common to hear about the frustrations that African-Americans feel Very powerful writing. He writes like a novelist, not an academic. Mostly about tensions among different communities in the African diaspora--people without African heritage shouldn't assume that Africans, Caribbeans, and African-Americans feel solidarity. This isn't new or controversial--even to me--anymore, but it wasn't openly discussed (meaning, among/with white people) not all that long ago, and even now, I feel like it's more common to hear about the frustrations that African-Americans feel when discussing racism with Africans or Caribbeans. Here we get the African & Caribbean perspectives. Some specific examples: Jamaicans of different generations dislike each others' accents, and Jamaicans gently tease people from smaller islands (Nevis). This is not at all the kind of anti-racism book that has been reaching broader (read: whiter) audiences since the summer of 2020. The author resists the kinds of binary approaches to diagnosing and fighting racism that dominate in the US. It's all much more complex. What it means to be "a Black American" changes depending on where you are and is, maybe, *the* question the book explores. The book also explores the psychological coping skills of immigrants to the US from countries that have much more widespread poverty issues than the US does, and/or countries with recent war/other trauma. What's temporary, what's permanent, who's family, what does "ghetto" even mean? Why it's hard for different generations to discuss so many things. Vivid scenes of gatherings around someone's dining table in LA, talking about issues, maybe becoming "king of the dining table." I absolutely loved the first half or so of the book, but I felt like the last parts were more disjointed and harder to connect to (did his mom tell him what really happened? does he have a half-sister somewhere in Nigeria? was his godfather essentially a political prisoner or a warlord, and what are we supposed to understand about his exile in comparison to others'?). I was especially fascinated by his mother's disinterest in theorizing about the terrible trauma she survived in Biafra. She didn't care about structural dynamics (colonialism, racism, predatory capitalists' interest in oil deposits); she cared only about who did the killing and who didn't, who did nothing to stop the suffering and who did everything they could no matter how small.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Never Without a Book

    Louis Chude-Sokei is a writer and scholar whose work ranges widely in and around the literary, political and cultural phenomena of the African Diaspora. Spanning across several continents, Chude-Sokei, recounts his search for his identity, starting with his birth place in Biafra, Africa and ending in LA. Throughout this journey, Chude-Sokei describes his feelings of alienness and isolation.  
 I don’t know what it was about this memoir but I could not put it down. When reading this book Chude-Soke Louis Chude-Sokei is a writer and scholar whose work ranges widely in and around the literary, political and cultural phenomena of the African Diaspora. Spanning across several continents, Chude-Sokei, recounts his search for his identity, starting with his birth place in Biafra, Africa and ending in LA. Throughout this journey, Chude-Sokei describes his feelings of alienness and isolation.  
 I don’t know what it was about this memoir but I could not put it down. When reading this book Chude-Sokei, gives you more than just his story, he gives you a view of the world through the eyes of an immigrant, from the tensions between Africans and Caribbean origin when he was in Jamaica to the streets of LA where Chude-Sokei, was introduced to the “N” word and out of curiosity Chude-Sokei, asked his mother what it meant and her response  and I quote “This is very wrong and we must do something about this immediately. It is not your fault. They have mistaken you for one of the blacks. Do you get? It is because we look the same. When someone says that word to you or calls you that name, say this. Listen. And you must say it very well and clear. Say I am not a slave.” my jaw dropped, an eye-opening moment. 
 Here's a fun fact, growing up Chude-Sokei adored David Bowie’s music, so the title of each chapter references lyrics from Bowie’s music. 
 Honestly this memoir was such a joy to read, engaging and insightful, I can easily say this will be one of my favorites of the year. Thank you, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, for this gifted copy.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Creatively written memoir - the David Bowie lyrics drew me in immediately. A harrowing coming of age for a young boy/young man. His father was killed, his mother escaped his birth country but left him in Jamaica until she could find nursing work and establish herself in America. When he flew to America, he was 10 years old and there wasn't a black male role model in sight...only "aunties." Moving from Washington DC to the California coast, his mother could see the need to connect with an Uncle f Creatively written memoir - the David Bowie lyrics drew me in immediately. A harrowing coming of age for a young boy/young man. His father was killed, his mother escaped his birth country but left him in Jamaica until she could find nursing work and establish herself in America. When he flew to America, he was 10 years old and there wasn't a black male role model in sight...only "aunties." Moving from Washington DC to the California coast, his mother could see the need to connect with an Uncle for her son. But, the community of immigrants from various places and cultures only seemed to confuse him further. He found himself comparing American black men to immigrant black men. What a childhood. He seemed to never fit in. This is definitely a reading selection for adults or older teens as incidences of drug/alcohol/sexual situations are described throughout. I realized how very little I know about African history in reading this memoir - especially the Biafran Nigeria War. Lyrical writing and introspective. I particularly liked his return to his birthplace and that he finally found some information about his parents lives. There seemed to be a resolution to his struggles. And, I loved the significance of his finding out the meaning of his name.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Britt Beam

    Louis Chude-Sokei’s childhood seems like something out of a ballad in itself. His father was key in trying to defend the small Republic of Biafra in the Nigerian Civil War. His father was killed and Biafra fell. His mother fled to Jamaica to have her son be raised by relatives, while she tried to earn money in America. He eventually ends up in Inglewood in Los Angelos, where he has difficulty navigating beyond the barriers of racism and resist becoming a part of the many gangs in his area. The m Louis Chude-Sokei’s childhood seems like something out of a ballad in itself. His father was key in trying to defend the small Republic of Biafra in the Nigerian Civil War. His father was killed and Biafra fell. His mother fled to Jamaica to have her son be raised by relatives, while she tried to earn money in America. He eventually ends up in Inglewood in Los Angelos, where he has difficulty navigating beyond the barriers of racism and resist becoming a part of the many gangs in his area. The most compelling part of his story I found in his returning to his home country and discovering more about his famous father. He is the “First Son of the First Son” and is lauded as a Prince among the people who share memories of his father with him. Now to the Bowie stuff. When I saw this book featured in the NYT Book Review- I immediately became so excited about its title that I bought it within minutes. Louis Chude-Sokei’s description of the 1st time he heard Space Oddity was similar to the feelings I had hearing it as a kid. The kind of immediate drive to figure out who this artist is and find any way possible to hear the song in its entirety. Even if you aren’t Bowie-obsessed, this writer and his story are incredible. A must-read for 2021.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    I gravitated toward this book for the beautiful cover, the David Bowie lyric reference in the title, and because I can rarely resist a story centered around the African diaspora. "There was so much to understand but even more to prove." Louis Chude-Sokei's memoir is a transnational coming of age story starting in the war-torn former nation Biafra, finding temporary refuge in Jamaica, and landing in America. In his straightforward writing, Chude-Sokei touches on identity, diaspora, foreignness, and I gravitated toward this book for the beautiful cover, the David Bowie lyric reference in the title, and because I can rarely resist a story centered around the African diaspora. "There was so much to understand but even more to prove." Louis Chude-Sokei's memoir is a transnational coming of age story starting in the war-torn former nation Biafra, finding temporary refuge in Jamaica, and landing in America. In his straightforward writing, Chude-Sokei touches on identity, diaspora, foreignness, and race. He examines the "in-betweenness" of Black immigrants' lives and the "tensions within Blackness itself" in America. I could not put this book down and was not ready for it to end. I'll be looking for more of Chude-Soke's writing in the future. I received a free digital review copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mary G.

    Louis Chude-Sokei has a truly unique story - he is the “first son of the first son” of the nation of Biafra, a West African state that was subsumed into Nigeria. His life moves from Jamaica to Los Angeles and back again as he struggles to carve out his own identity and place in the world. This memoir introduced me to Biafra, and I'm glad I had a chance to learn about this state and its people. Chude-Sokei's stories of the tensions between peoples of African and Caribbean origin, as well as those Louis Chude-Sokei has a truly unique story - he is the “first son of the first son” of the nation of Biafra, a West African state that was subsumed into Nigeria. His life moves from Jamaica to Los Angeles and back again as he struggles to carve out his own identity and place in the world. This memoir introduced me to Biafra, and I'm glad I had a chance to learn about this state and its people. Chude-Sokei's stories of the tensions between peoples of African and Caribbean origin, as well as those raised in the US, were very eye-opening as well. He beautifully describes his feelings of alienness and isolation across all these different environments. If you're interested in the African diaspora or questions of identity, you'll likely find this book meaningful. Thank you to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing an ARC on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kamilah

    I’m torn about this memoir. I was fascinated to read about the experience of growing up in Jamaica during a time period where my own parents were children as well, and his experience growing up in DC and LA, again during a time period where I have relatives who also lived the black immigrant experience. This also felt really painful to read in parts, and I think when it comes down to it, I wanted the author to have perhaps shared the type of insight on race that I see from others like Isabel Wil I’m torn about this memoir. I was fascinated to read about the experience of growing up in Jamaica during a time period where my own parents were children as well, and his experience growing up in DC and LA, again during a time period where I have relatives who also lived the black immigrant experience. This also felt really painful to read in parts, and I think when it comes down to it, I wanted the author to have perhaps shared the type of insight on race that I see from others like Isabel Wilkerson in Caste. Still, he doesn’t shy away from sharing some of the ugliness you sometimes hear in the black immigrant community. I thought the ending felt slightly muddled/rushed but it’s definitely something that will stick with me.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brooks Goddard

    It isn't easy being black. This memoir addresses fractured identities playing out in the real life of the author and as such they make us all aware of how we all come from different people and different cultures. Chude-Sokei was born in Nigeria to a Nigerian father and a Jamaican mother who had met in London. This small family then got caught up in the Biafran war to which the father was devoted and which cost him his life. Then to Jamaica, then to South Central, LA. Out of the hood into univers It isn't easy being black. This memoir addresses fractured identities playing out in the real life of the author and as such they make us all aware of how we all come from different people and different cultures. Chude-Sokei was born in Nigeria to a Nigerian father and a Jamaican mother who had met in London. This small family then got caught up in the Biafran war to which the father was devoted and which cost him his life. Then to Jamaica, then to South Central, LA. Out of the hood into university and an academic career. The second half of the memoir is especially compelling and references all the competing black identities that the author is trying to find a home in. “My, my, how a body gets around.”

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sara Broad

    "Floating in a Most Peculiar Way" by Louis Chude-Sokei is a memoir about the “first son of the first son” of Biafra and his life spanning several continents. The history in this book was really interesting, and I really liked reading about Chude-Sokei's process of figuring out who he is, where he comes from, and the meaning of family in his life. Aside from the historical knowledge that this book gave me, I really like how much the author discussed how religion, music, and literature were intert "Floating in a Most Peculiar Way" by Louis Chude-Sokei is a memoir about the “first son of the first son” of Biafra and his life spanning several continents. The history in this book was really interesting, and I really liked reading about Chude-Sokei's process of figuring out who he is, where he comes from, and the meaning of family in his life. Aside from the historical knowledge that this book gave me, I really like how much the author discussed how religion, music, and literature were intertwined in his life. This is definitely a good read!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    Louis Chude-Sokei has such a unique coming of age story that spans across several continents beginning in his home nation of Biafra, Africa and ending in Los Angeles. His writing is honest and easy to read as he recounts his search for his identity. It was fascinating to hear about the history of Africa and the country of Biafra, an important piece of history I hadn’t yet learned about. I definitely recommend this book if you enjoy memoirs - it was quick, interesting and easy to read, I flew thr Louis Chude-Sokei has such a unique coming of age story that spans across several continents beginning in his home nation of Biafra, Africa and ending in Los Angeles. His writing is honest and easy to read as he recounts his search for his identity. It was fascinating to hear about the history of Africa and the country of Biafra, an important piece of history I hadn’t yet learned about. I definitely recommend this book if you enjoy memoirs - it was quick, interesting and easy to read, I flew threw it in a few days and learned so much along the way!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Evan

    It’s difficult to fully comprehend some of the author’s experiences and the expectations he faced from a young age. The writing is equal parts approachable and profound. I found it important to set the book down after a chapter or two to ponder what I’d just read. Louis masterfully navigates his readers through a perplexing negotiation of identities, not the least of which is his role as the “first son of the first son” of Biafra.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jameil

    The author best summarizes the issues with this book, “That need to intellectually overcompensate for a failed racial identity or a general cultural alienation would be shared with many of the graduate students I began to know. How many of them were either immigrants themselves or rejects from cultures and communities that had bruised and still haunted them.“ He meanders through this memoir on a search for self that doesn’t quite hit the mark.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I’m glad I read this book. The author, born of a mother from Jamaica and a father from Nigeria tells a story, plainly and well, without judgement of the experience of being an immigrant (both in Jamaica and America) and of navigating race in America. It is a beautiful, complex, thoughtful story. It is both unusual in its specificity and common for many African immigrants to these shores. He tells a story that is not well enough known or talked about. I’m glad I read it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    lydia

    A very personal look into one young boys journey of finding his place in a world that seems to want him to conform into one particular type of Black man. A memoir that provokes deep thought on the subject of racism outside the usual white vs black by delving into the African diaspora from a singularly personal experience of being caught between Jamaica and Africa while trying to find belonging in America.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Judy Santos

    Reading a good story like this one, I suggest you join NovelStar’s writing competition this April. If you are interested kindly check this link https://www.facebook.com/104455574751... for the mechanics of the writing contest this April and also, I am sharing your book in Facebook to help reach readers. Thank you Reading a good story like this one, I suggest you join NovelStar’s writing competition this April. If you are interested kindly check this link https://www.facebook.com/104455574751... for the mechanics of the writing contest this April and also, I am sharing your book in Facebook to help reach readers. Thank you

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Impressive well-written memoir about not just the life of this young man but the many forms of Blacknesses in the diaspora. Pleasurable and informative, will prompt me to read more of the Biafran fight for independence.

  25. 4 out of 5

    J Wells

    I always find it hard to rate someone's memoirs since they are so personal. This was a short read and illuminated a period of history I was unfamiliar with, it definitely gave some perspective to the vast perceptions of Africans, Jamaicans, and Black Americans amongst each other. I always find it hard to rate someone's memoirs since they are so personal. This was a short read and illuminated a period of history I was unfamiliar with, it definitely gave some perspective to the vast perceptions of Africans, Jamaicans, and Black Americans amongst each other.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Smileitsjoy (JoyMelody)

    Beautifully written. Poetic even. But extremely slow. Felt disjointed. Maybe it wasn’t for me. I would still recommend His writing really is something. Have quite a few tabs with annotated comments. Learned a lot. Just wasn’t a smooth read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kate Foster

    I adored this book. Very much reminded me of Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I had been wanting to learn more about the Black Diaspora since my sociology of immigration class and this book touched on it. Overall, I really enjoyed this book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ben Bush

    Louis is always brilliant. Funny in surprising ways and capable of helping us to see things anew.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vincent

    Dealing with traumatic events in his life right from childhood to adulthood, and seeking to find identity in Jamaica, United States and Nigeria, Louis Chude-Sokei is restless in his pursuit for answers in this memoir.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I went back and forth between liking this book and disliking it a lot. In the end I'd said I'd give it about 2 1/2 to 3 stars. It was ok. It wasn't a waste of my time. But I'm not sure I would recommend it. I went back and forth between liking this book and disliking it a lot. In the end I'd said I'd give it about 2 1/2 to 3 stars. It was ok. It wasn't a waste of my time. But I'm not sure I would recommend it.

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