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An eloquent, restless, and enlightening memoir by one of the most thought-provoking journalists today about growing up Black and queer in America, reuniting with the past, and coming of age their own way. One of nineteen children in a blended family, Hari Ziyad was raised by a Hindu Hare Kṛṣṇa mother and a Muslim father. Through reframing their own coming-of-age story, Ziya An eloquent, restless, and enlightening memoir by one of the most thought-provoking journalists today about growing up Black and queer in America, reuniting with the past, and coming of age their own way. One of nineteen children in a blended family, Hari Ziyad was raised by a Hindu Hare Kṛṣṇa mother and a Muslim father. Through reframing their own coming-of-age story, Ziyad takes readers on a powerful journey of growing up queer and Black in Cleveland, Ohio, and of navigating the equally complex path toward finding their true self in New York City. Exploring childhood, gender, race, and the trust that is built, broken, and repaired through generations, Ziyad investigates what it means to live beyond the limited narratives Black children are given and challenges the irreconcilable binaries that restrict them. Heartwarming and heart-wrenching, radical and reflective, Hari Ziyad’s vital memoir is for the outcast, the unheard, the unborn, and the dead. It offers us a new way to think about survival and the necessary disruption of social norms. It looks back in tenderness as well as justified rage, forces us to address where we are now, and, born out of hope, illuminates the possibilities for the future.


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An eloquent, restless, and enlightening memoir by one of the most thought-provoking journalists today about growing up Black and queer in America, reuniting with the past, and coming of age their own way. One of nineteen children in a blended family, Hari Ziyad was raised by a Hindu Hare Kṛṣṇa mother and a Muslim father. Through reframing their own coming-of-age story, Ziya An eloquent, restless, and enlightening memoir by one of the most thought-provoking journalists today about growing up Black and queer in America, reuniting with the past, and coming of age their own way. One of nineteen children in a blended family, Hari Ziyad was raised by a Hindu Hare Kṛṣṇa mother and a Muslim father. Through reframing their own coming-of-age story, Ziyad takes readers on a powerful journey of growing up queer and Black in Cleveland, Ohio, and of navigating the equally complex path toward finding their true self in New York City. Exploring childhood, gender, race, and the trust that is built, broken, and repaired through generations, Ziyad investigates what it means to live beyond the limited narratives Black children are given and challenges the irreconcilable binaries that restrict them. Heartwarming and heart-wrenching, radical and reflective, Hari Ziyad’s vital memoir is for the outcast, the unheard, the unborn, and the dead. It offers us a new way to think about survival and the necessary disruption of social norms. It looks back in tenderness as well as justified rage, forces us to address where we are now, and, born out of hope, illuminates the possibilities for the future.

30 review for Black Boy Out of Time

  1. 4 out of 5

    Shanita Hubbard

    I fell in love with this book after reading the first three paragraphs. The writing is simply beautiful and the story is completely compelling. Their work is consistently brilliant and this book is no different.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Natasha

    A powerful and eloquent book- I am so glad I selected it on Amazon’s Prime First Reads. Often times it was so devastatingly sad, but I could not stop reading it. I also found myself smiling at certain parts that filled my heart up.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    i really thought i’d enjoy this, i really wanted to enjoy this, but i didn’t. it felt as if ziyad was trying to smash three books (that would have probably all been strong in their own) into one that felt really jumbled and confused. if you’ve read any of my reviews you may have noticed that i have a real issue with repetition. the word ‘carceral’ is used a whopping 113 times throughout this text.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Richard Propes

    I tried desperately to connect with Hari Ziyad's "Black Boy Out of Time: A Memoir," an Amazon First Read that I consistently respected but could never quite fully embrace. Ziyad grew up as one of nineteen children in a blended family raised by a Hindu Hare Kṛṣṇa mother and a Muslim father. Ziyad takes us through what is admittedly a powerful journey of growing up queer and Black in Cleveland, Ohio, and of navigating the equally complex path toward finding their true self in New York City. "Black I tried desperately to connect with Hari Ziyad's "Black Boy Out of Time: A Memoir," an Amazon First Read that I consistently respected but could never quite fully embrace. Ziyad grew up as one of nineteen children in a blended family raised by a Hindu Hare Kṛṣṇa mother and a Muslim father. Ziyad takes us through what is admittedly a powerful journey of growing up queer and Black in Cleveland, Ohio, and of navigating the equally complex path toward finding their true self in New York City. "Black Boy Out of Time" explores childhood, gender, race, and the trust that is built, broken, and repaired through generations investigating what it means to live beyond the limited narratives Black children are given and challenging the irreconcilable binaries that restrict them. I have no doubt that many will connect with "Black Boy Out of Time," a book that simultaneously taps into both the intellectual and emotional aspects of Ziyad's life journey. Ziyad is honest, brutally honest at times, and yet there's also a deep understanding of socio-political truths and the ways in which they shape identity personal experience. Ziyad isn't really overly sentimental here, though at times "Black Boy Out of Time" is quite loving. Instead, Ziyad shapes even his own story by thinking about survival and disrupting what have become known as social norms. There's a hopefulness here set amidst the resignation of acknowledging where we are now as a society and how that has shaped Ziyad's life and the lives of many others. There's immense rage and immense grief in the book, an acknowledgement of pain and limitation experienced. Ziyad is the editor-in-chief of Racebaitr and is incapable of writing a memoir separated from the criminalization and persecution of race that has so often shaped Ziyad's experience. This persecution, along with what it means to survive sexual assault, permeates practically every page of "Black Boy Out of Time" and makes it both an immersive and challenging read definitely for the timid reader. I was not bothered by the material in "Black Boy Out of Time." Indeed, I found Ziyad's brutal honesty refreshing and his uncompromising storytelling often quite engaging. Yet, throughout "Black Boy Out of Time" I struggled to surrender myself to Ziyad's often rhythmic writing and the vacillation between deeply personal and socio-political. At times, it felt as if a fence had been built between the memoir and the socio-political foundation upon which it was built. I struggled to climb this fence and that struggle kept me from fully engaging and more completely connecting with Ziyad and this powerful story. Indeed, "Black Boy Out of Time" is a book I respected immensely yet it never captured me on the level that I'd hoped and like the best memoirs really do. For those who do connect with Ziyad's writing in such a way, "Black Boy Out of Time" has much to say and it says it with conviction and meaning. For others, myself included, "Black Boy Out of Time" is a book that will leave us grateful for Ziyad's desperately needed voice in a world that needs more diverse voices.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is a tough read, because it forces you to think deeply about sociological problems that you wish weren’t there. It took me a little bit to get into the format of this, which consists of bits of philosophy, social critique and memoir, alternating with letters to his child self. The format is an effective way to get his message across. He’s healing himself while at the same time allowing others to confront their racist views and misconceptions of black people. It’s a difficult read, but worth This is a tough read, because it forces you to think deeply about sociological problems that you wish weren’t there. It took me a little bit to get into the format of this, which consists of bits of philosophy, social critique and memoir, alternating with letters to his child self. The format is an effective way to get his message across. He’s healing himself while at the same time allowing others to confront their racist views and misconceptions of black people. It’s a difficult read, but worth it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kaja

    DNF I felt like the first 2/3 of this book were good and points were well made. I couldn’t bring myself to read about childhood sexual abuse, so I skipped that chapter and then I just didn’t want to finish it. I appreciate the author’s point of views and personal truths and respect that. I just lost interest at the end.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bookworm

    As Black History Month continues in the United States, I was curious about this memoir, offered via the Kindle First Reads program. Never heard of the author, but the title and cover had me super interested. Ziyad is from a blended family and has to navigate the world as a queer, nonbinary person, and what it's like being seen as Black in the United States. Their memoir covers growing up, trying to figure out their way in the world, their identity, family issues (and drama), sexuality, political/ As Black History Month continues in the United States, I was curious about this memoir, offered via the Kindle First Reads program. Never heard of the author, but the title and cover had me super interested. Ziyad is from a blended family and has to navigate the world as a queer, nonbinary person, and what it's like being seen as Black in the United States. Their memoir covers growing up, trying to figure out their way in the world, their identity, family issues (and drama), sexuality, political/social commentary and more. It's less of a "memoir" as described and more of a constant stream of consciousness. Sometimes the book is more of a memoir, sometimes a manifesto, sometimes commentary on the state of the world, etc. Overall, I have to agree with the negative reviews. Sometimes it really feels like a stronger editor would have made this into an incredible, tighter work. Sometimes it feels like Ziyad is putting down things that really should have gone into therapy and perhaps stayed there. I respect their experiences and POV, but there are times when it feels like they are simply talking too much. Some parts really are very interesting but I strongly disagree that the text is beautiful or moving. But again, that is their experiences and Ziyad obviously has a lot to say. But be wared, there are many tough topics ranging from child sexual abuse to rape to racism to anti-Blackness to queerphobia to domestic violence, etc. In the end, it's not an "easy" read by any measure and is not a book that is for everyone. As mentioned, this was a Kindle First Read borrow for me. I personally would have skipped it but I'm sure there's an audience out there somewhere.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ghanasyam Bey

    Love the brutally honest, artful weaving in out of personal stories to broader observations about important issues in society like race, gender, class, etc.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Zen Pace

    I have been surrounded by death recently. In my own life, in my head, little deaths happening everyday. And sometimes I feel overwhelmed. My obsessions trigger me, then bring me comfort. As if knowing how I might die will save my life. But then I read this....score. Something about how a book operates doesn't do what this book is justice. Once these words are in you, they produce vibrations, they become something more than just an injection of phrases. And so after reading Hari's work, I think I I have been surrounded by death recently. In my own life, in my head, little deaths happening everyday. And sometimes I feel overwhelmed. My obsessions trigger me, then bring me comfort. As if knowing how I might die will save my life. But then I read this....score. Something about how a book operates doesn't do what this book is justice. Once these words are in you, they produce vibrations, they become something more than just an injection of phrases. And so after reading Hari's work, I think I feel...less alone. Less afraid. At least today. Here are some moments and thoughts: This book deserves the perfect review. But "review" isn't right...I'm not sure what's right here... This book breaks you, then offers you the tools to patch yourself up. One of Hari's gifts, and there are many, is there conspicuous ability to paint a picture that both astonishes and offers unknown truths, both piercing and inviting. This is the story of a young boy who found out they were a spirit. By the end of the book, I sense Hari looking at their younger self. Nurturing them in the way only they can, and offering them the healing they so desperately deserve. But they are also holding their hand, and telling all of us to take our inner child for a walk. Sit them down. Feel them. Invite them in....Hari shows us that an alternative to our reality is within in us, but that doesn't make them any less real. Good art can produce a mirror to humanity, this happens here. I'm left knowing and questioning the abyss of this universe. Searching for answer to these pains. These unknowings. Hari addresses and speaks out their contradictions in themselves, and so, I find myself doing the same, it's here, the water is a little less murky. And lastly, If we are to take part in dismantling this prison we live in, then this is a starting place reader. Because it is only through internal work and self-discovery (I hate this phrase) that more exists. And it must exist. It must. Thank you Hari Ziyad for encouraging more. You make me a better human. With Love.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anton Prosser

    I find it really hard to reduce this to a star rating for a variety of reasons. This is a book with some beautiful writing, a lot of thoughtfulness and care, and a unique perspective on life right here and now as a queer, nonbinary Black person living in America. Despite my own queerness, I'm a white person and I'm definitely not the audience here who will probably find the most meaning and resonance in this book. There are some moments in this book I found deeply frustrating, some conclusions I I find it really hard to reduce this to a star rating for a variety of reasons. This is a book with some beautiful writing, a lot of thoughtfulness and care, and a unique perspective on life right here and now as a queer, nonbinary Black person living in America. Despite my own queerness, I'm a white person and I'm definitely not the audience here who will probably find the most meaning and resonance in this book. There are some moments in this book I found deeply frustrating, some conclusions I disagree with but overall Ziyad approaches their life with an attempt as honest reckoning with the many wounds this world inflicts.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Melynda Wangsness

    [...] "is white. They don't get it. Even now, I don't think get do, it ever will. " An intimate read that feels like reading through Ziyad's journal. A thought provoking read that forces the reader to think critically on important and triggering topics. The author leads a powerful and personal conversation requiring the reader to do their own work in answering biases and wanting for reform. Their story is an emotional and sometimes hard to read one, due to the sensitive topics and extremely open [...] "is white. They don't get it. Even now, I don't think get do, it ever will. " An intimate read that feels like reading through Ziyad's journal. A thought provoking read that forces the reader to think critically on important and triggering topics. The author leads a powerful and personal conversation requiring the reader to do their own work in answering biases and wanting for reform. Their story is an emotional and sometimes hard to read one, due to the sensitive topics and extremely open and personal writing style of Ziyad. The author does an amazing job of providing sources allowing the reader to do more research and further understand the information shared. Overall great read that challenges important topics.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

    Impassioned and important The author bravely brought to light many racist situations and struggles that have impacted their life. They generously opened their history to clearly illustrate their points. This is an important story, but I cannot overlook the mind-numbing number of times the author uses the word, carceral; twice in a sentence, in adjoining sentences, several times on many pages. When it's time for a reprint, an edit would be nice. Aside from that, this is an author who is doing the Impassioned and important The author bravely brought to light many racist situations and struggles that have impacted their life. They generously opened their history to clearly illustrate their points. This is an important story, but I cannot overlook the mind-numbing number of times the author uses the word, carceral; twice in a sentence, in adjoining sentences, several times on many pages. When it's time for a reprint, an edit would be nice. Aside from that, this is an author who is doing the work in their own life and I applaud them for their diligence.

  13. 4 out of 5

    ╟ ♫ Tima ♪ ╣ ♥

    I am SO excited that this was offered as one of the Prime Reading Free Books for February. I look forward to reading this immensely

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    Read his book! I was lucky to get this book from Amazon's first reads at the beginning of this month. I saw it is also featured as one of Goodreads recommended memoirs a couple days ago. Hari is an editor in chief at Racebaitr so you may already be familiar with them. They offer a powerful insight into the life of growing up queer and black in America with a Hari Krishna mother. They often write to their younger self which was a perspective that I enjoyed. This book should be shelved with others i Read his book! I was lucky to get this book from Amazon's first reads at the beginning of this month. I saw it is also featured as one of Goodreads recommended memoirs a couple days ago. Hari is an editor in chief at Racebaitr so you may already be familiar with them. They offer a powerful insight into the life of growing up queer and black in America with a Hari Krishna mother. They often write to their younger self which was a perspective that I enjoyed. This book should be shelved with others in your library about race in America.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Katie Laing

    Very raw and makes me question my understandings of the inequalities faced by blacks in America today and makes me question what I can really do to help.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bhakti Dasi

    Hari is an exceptional writer, who inspires us to read through his thought provoking life experiences, eloquently written with a purpose. It was extremely difficult to put the book down.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Erica Lewis

    I don't even know how to begin describing this book, but I'm glad I read it. It sparked so much deep thought and analysis and understanding. I don't even know how to begin describing this book, but I'm glad I read it. It sparked so much deep thought and analysis and understanding.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Castro Riestra

    Typical praise for a book would call it a "page-turner," lauding its refusal to be put down. But Black Boy Out of Time merits praise for a different reason. Hari Ziyad has written a book that insists the reader take the time to sit with some of society's most pernicious and intractable problems, that challenges the reader and offers no ready-made answers. Rather than compel me to keep turning pages, Ziyad's writing frequently brought my reading (but not my engagement) to a halt as I wrestled wit Typical praise for a book would call it a "page-turner," lauding its refusal to be put down. But Black Boy Out of Time merits praise for a different reason. Hari Ziyad has written a book that insists the reader take the time to sit with some of society's most pernicious and intractable problems, that challenges the reader and offers no ready-made answers. Rather than compel me to keep turning pages, Ziyad's writing frequently brought my reading (but not my engagement) to a halt as I wrestled with the struggles they depict and the insights they try to impart. Ziyad's is a memoir about healing after the trauma of living in a world that remains anti-Black and anti-queer. Following a recommendation from their therapist, Ziyad attempts to reconnect with their inner child. These efforts are reflected in the structure of the memoir, which alternates between narrative chapters and chapters of prayer addressed to their inner child. Going beyond narrating their memories, the chapters are at times essayistic, critically examining the complexities and struggles sparked by the friction between identities that transgress hegemonic normativity and the carceral state/society/mindset that police them. All the while, Ziyad, along with their inner child, works towards healing, endeavoring to map a better path forward. Given this critical outlook, Ziyad draws upon Black feminist theory and introduces two key sources of so much iniquity: "misafropedia" (the "anti-Black disdain for children and childhood that Black youth experience") and "carceral dissonance" (internalized acceptance of society's punitive logic of oppression). Ziyad was raised by a Hindu mother and a Muslim father but understandably finds no succor in religions that have been intimately involved in policing their gender and sexuality. Instead, they search for a "faith that truly honors all that Black people lose in trying to persist through structural and systemic anti-Blackness." They therefore turn both to their inner child and ancestor worship of their grandmother, with whom they had a trying relationship. Throughout, Ziyad remains proactively forthright, refusing to repeat easy narratives in which there are heroes and villains. Having observed that "Black children demonstrate how to exist in a world where no one has to have a perfect story," Ziyad is as critical of themself as of society. Among the book's most powerful accomplishments is the manner in which Ziyad models unflinchingly honest introspection and demonstrates the possibility of owning up to the harm one has caused while "refusing carceral thinking, behaviors, and institutions" so as to remain truly whole. This model—this memoir—is a response to problems with no fixed, one-time solutions. Ziyad concludes that the desired destination "is not located in a single space and time in the form of some unchanging, inflexible tome of knowledge that you capture when you have found the end." Even once all the pages have been turned, the reader will sit with this book, hopefully plotting their own honest steps towards liberation.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Hanson

    Hari Ziyad's memoir is the tale of a fascinating life, growing up black and queer in a Hari Krisna family with 18 brothers and sisters in Cleveland. However, while extremely thoughtfully written, it lacks the immediacy that helps readers experience what living that life was like. Instead, half of the book is letters written to recover Hari-Gaura, his inner child, from the traumas of family abuse and, even more importantly, the systemic abuse of living in a society based on "carceral dissonance" Hari Ziyad's memoir is the tale of a fascinating life, growing up black and queer in a Hari Krisna family with 18 brothers and sisters in Cleveland. However, while extremely thoughtfully written, it lacks the immediacy that helps readers experience what living that life was like. Instead, half of the book is letters written to recover Hari-Gaura, his inner child, from the traumas of family abuse and, even more importantly, the systemic abuse of living in a society based on "carceral dissonance" - a phrase used on almost every other page. In many ways, while critical of society, Hari is harshest on himself, particularly in the ways he has embodied that same carceral dissonance often without question, and harshly judged other black members of his family and community, seeing them as "bad" or worthy of dismissal, or anything but a whole human being. This is particularly poignant in the memories of a neighbor child Roberto, when Hari dismisses his "youthful conflicts and his poorness to fabricate him as a hulking, envious saboteur with a penchant for cruelty." In this way, Hari demonstrates how easily black children in society are dismissed and robbed of their childhood, and seen solely as aggressors worthy of incarceration, rather than seen simply as troubled human children in need of help. Ziyad succeeds most in helping the readers think of all the ways we have dismissed people as being one thing only, rather than striving to see their wholeness. His challenging relationship with his bipolar grandmother, Mother Bhumi, is also indicative of how, even though she could be terrifying, there could also be love, and as in a state based on incarceration, the only societal appeal to aid her mental illness would likely end up in the police showing up and her being damaged even more, as he often witnessed. Ziyad offers no easy answers to ending a society based on incarceration, other than we must strive to stop seeing anyone in terms of polarities, as wholly evil or wholly good. We must hold other people accountable for their actions, as well as ourselves, and must also look at people with love and look to heal rather than separate. And it is no surprise, that those who are black, queer, transgender, or who continually have to question their place in society from a very young age, approach a memoir from a much more analytical and political stance than those that are embraced and supported by society. This memoir challenges ones one beliefs and raises interesting questions about society, but I always felt like I was viewing Hari's story through layers of psychoanalysis, judgment and thoughtful rationalization, rather than just getting to know him and his life story.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Short Story Carnivore

    This is a touching, deep, explorative memoir of a young man deep inside himself, expressing his life, thoughts, and desires to the world. A top-notch reaching exploration inner turmoil and outer reality. Each a truthful experience. A deep dive into personal struggle and surrounded atmospheres of hatred and bigotry the young man has seen, felt or personally experienced. There is a harshness to the narrative. An eye-opening monstrosity of all things that is wrong with modern and past cultures towa This is a touching, deep, explorative memoir of a young man deep inside himself, expressing his life, thoughts, and desires to the world. A top-notch reaching exploration inner turmoil and outer reality. Each a truthful experience. A deep dive into personal struggle and surrounded atmospheres of hatred and bigotry the young man has seen, felt or personally experienced. There is a harshness to the narrative. An eye-opening monstrosity of all things that is wrong with modern and past cultures toward African Americans. This is also about the inner struggle of being black and queer at the same time. Like a pistol with an unlimited number of rounds blasting into the very foundation of humanity. Feeling like or knowing you are hated or looked down upon on both realities of personas. One being black in America and two being Queer in American. I loved the family life stories throughout. The experiences with his childhood and his love and at times with his hard relationships with his parents. His spiritual reality. The book comes together in brilliant way all mixed around a struggling presence of racism and not belonging and finding oneself in the difficult walk of Queer life. There is a struggle with both sides. Hari is Queer and Hari is African American. Both play pivotal rolls in the story. The concept reality of acceptance and not belonging run rampant throughout this book. There is a sense of emotional handicaps at a life when one has to struggle with two concepts that are both bombarded with negative realities. Hari explains these ordeals, and realities with a crystal clarity that touches the reader and makes the one reading linger on the truths being told. Would I Return to It Again: This is a book that demands to be read, and I can see one teaching from this book to others. So, in a sense yes, it is a book one can return to and educate and learn from. Would I Recommend: Absolutely in a heart best. It is emotional. It is touching. It is deep and informative reading that I feel the reader can become apart of the story and ultimately feel the underlining message and reality of this young man’s life. My Rating: 4 out of 5 Four Final Thoughts: Explorative. Informative. Eye Opening.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Scott J Pearson

    Ziyad is a black, queer male writer from Cleveland, who now lives in New York City and uses the pronouns they/them (which shall be used in this review). They write about his struggles forming an identity in a world that seems violent and hostile to his health. While such an environment exists in some part for most children, Ziyad seems to have a particularly difficult time given a multi-religious home, public schooling that seemed to place different expectations on whites and blacks, ever-circli Ziyad is a black, queer male writer from Cleveland, who now lives in New York City and uses the pronouns they/them (which shall be used in this review). They write about his struggles forming an identity in a world that seems violent and hostile to his health. While such an environment exists in some part for most children, Ziyad seems to have a particularly difficult time given a multi-religious home, public schooling that seemed to place different expectations on whites and blacks, ever-circling homophobia, and explicit and implicit sexual violence against them. Zayid’s memoir – and this book is more memoir than autobiography – illustrates the genuine difficulties and benefits of honestly facing one’s self. While writing this book, they engage in psychotherapy and accordingly provides a psychological tilt to their writing. They deeply examine the relationships in his life – whether that be his unusual family, lovers, or friends. They are clearly learning how to have and treasure healthy, mutually beneficial adult relationships at this phase in their life. Zayid sees racial disparities particularly clearly. In the prologue, they coin the neologism “misafropedia,” defined as the world being particularly “violent” to the healthy formation of African-American children. Throughout the rest of the book, they illustrate this principle through their own experiences in their own upbringing. At times, this outlook can border on paranoia, but the central point was well-made by the end of the work. I would like to see Zayid extrapolate on this point further: They have offered a new diagnosis (misafropedia), but what’s the new treatment? How can Americans make society less hostile to black children? How do they plan to avoid such a fate in the next generation? Every other chapter contains a letter written from their contemporary adult-self to his child-self. They explain what they wish they would have known as a youth. While almost every adult could coach their child-self to take a better path, the acute struggles (homosexual and black) of Zayid’s formation come out in these letters. This brings clear psychological overtones and marks a step towards wholeness. At times, I had trouble following these letters because the letters seemed caught in emotion rather than grounded in real-world events. I would have liked to have seen these explicated in more detail. Involving a third party in the writings might have been constructive. Overall, Ziyad’s memoir seems especially well-suited to those in the black community and in the LGBTQ+ community – and to those in both. (In fact, this book explicitly echoes the theory of black feminist authors.) Identity formation, however, is not limited to these groups, and adults responsible for other humans of any ilk could benefit from a perusal of this work. Indeed, any individual can benefit from witnessing the struggles of another human to reckon a worthwhile existence in this world. Those struggles end up determining much of the nature of our existence and suggest what we have most to offer our fellows. I’d like to see Ziyad build upon this foundation in the years to come. They are now newly married and starting off many new “firsts” in their life along with more self-examination. Perhaps the next book could see them reach out to help others in some worthy way.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Marieke du Pré

    Let me start with the cover, it‘s simply beautiful. The colors, the butterflies, the flowers, the light, and of course, the Black person (Hari as a child becoming a grown-up?). I can watch it time and again. It’s powerful and tender at the same time; I could buy this book just because of the cover. Then the book itself. I find it hard to review. The writing is beautiful but also repetitive (constantly mentioning ‘carceral dissonance’ drove me a little crazy) and too much of a long ramble. I had a Let me start with the cover, it‘s simply beautiful. The colors, the butterflies, the flowers, the light, and of course, the Black person (Hari as a child becoming a grown-up?). I can watch it time and again. It’s powerful and tender at the same time; I could buy this book just because of the cover. Then the book itself. I find it hard to review. The writing is beautiful but also repetitive (constantly mentioning ‘carceral dissonance’ drove me a little crazy) and too much of a long ramble. I had a hard time getting into the memoir. To be honest, I never really got in, and I found myself skipping pages the more I read. I just didn’t feel anything and I hated myself a little because of that. I liked the acknowledgments the most! A little weird, probably ... The memoir started with the Author’s note, not just one or a few pages but a whole (long) chapter. I got confused because of that. And when I began to think that the ARC wouldn’t have chapters but only text and text and text (because it didn’t really read as an Author’s note), the Author’s note was over, and the chapters started. I was already sighing at that time, and that’s not a good thing when you try to like a book. I read All Boys aren’t Blue a month ago, and I loved that book. I expected Black Boy Out of Time somehow to be the same. But it wasn’t (and maybe I shouldn’t have had those expectations, that’s definitely on me). I hope other readers will love this memoir more than I did. Because I believe these kinds of memoirs by own voices are important to us all. Besides, a book with such a glorious cover needs to be loved 😀! Two stars and adding one star because of the cover. I received an ARC from Little A and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Fortune Vilcko

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I found it a fascinating read although I could not relate to his experiences. I gave it a three star rating because he was just too one sided. Here are some examples: 1. I know black people have suffered because of slavery and because of racism. However, as much as I cannot comprehend how slavery ever existed and why we have white supremacists today, I do not see all white folks as being racists. For example in the book, he wrote “If I am to have white friends, I have to hold them to account for I found it a fascinating read although I could not relate to his experiences. I gave it a three star rating because he was just too one sided. Here are some examples: 1. I know black people have suffered because of slavery and because of racism. However, as much as I cannot comprehend how slavery ever existed and why we have white supremacists today, I do not see all white folks as being racists. For example in the book, he wrote “If I am to have white friends, I have to hold them to account for the harms they cause because of my accountability to Black people. He appears to sees people as either black or white. I do not look at people that way. We are all human beings and we should all be treated with respect and kindness. Yes, I know the blacks have suffered a lot worse than most of us, but I am hoping that someday we all just get along. It shouldn't matter what color your skin is. 2. He talks about capitalism as if it is bad. That is totally different from my philosophy. I worked hard to get to where I am in. I believe in the system. I worked hard for my money so that I could have a better life. 3. When he said that his Dad thought that 9/11 was an inside job and when he sort of believed it too, that was just too much for me to comprehend. He did open my eyes to how difficult it was growing up being black and gay. However, his family stuck by him no matter what and that he should be thankful for that. If we continue to see each other as either Black or White, we will never heal. We are all human beings and we should all be respected and loved. Let us get past that and concentrate on the here and now instead of concentrating on what was.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Troy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a difficult book to review. It made me dig and think about my beliefs and values. I don't know if I have read a book where the author has no desire to be my friend because of my skin color, but I realize that many POC have read books where they feel the same. While I personally don't agree with the author's views as I see them as extreme even more so when I went to his blog after I read some of the book. I understand somewhat of his approach and see the turmoil he is having with trying t This is a difficult book to review. It made me dig and think about my beliefs and values. I don't know if I have read a book where the author has no desire to be my friend because of my skin color, but I realize that many POC have read books where they feel the same. While I personally don't agree with the author's views as I see them as extreme even more so when I went to his blog after I read some of the book. I understand somewhat of his approach and see the turmoil he is having with trying to live his life according to his ideals. His trip to PR and even his belief against zoos show a human who struggles to form a belief and still be able to live a fulfilling life. My advice, you have to soften your ideals some. I know I soften mine too much to make life easier and this book challenges me to try harder in living a life of practice. TBH, I read this book looking forward to the spiritual pull of Hare Krishna and Islam and how he had to work through those beliefs and being raised with both evident in his life. I know that a sheltered religious childhood makes becoming an adult more difficult in some ways but yet we need to also see the beauty in that childhood. This is what I felt like he was doing by writing this book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sherrie

    ***I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway*** In this memoir, the author explores the conflicting messages they have received as a queer Black person in America, particularly one raised in the Hindu faith. They write with extreme care and consideration for everyone in their life, including their own younger self. If nothing else, I think that's what I want to take from this book...that compassion. It's not simply kindness, but a thoughtfulness and love that comes from attempting to fully understa ***I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway*** In this memoir, the author explores the conflicting messages they have received as a queer Black person in America, particularly one raised in the Hindu faith. They write with extreme care and consideration for everyone in their life, including their own younger self. If nothing else, I think that's what I want to take from this book...that compassion. It's not simply kindness, but a thoughtfulness and love that comes from attempting to fully understand the people involved. There were many parts of Hari Ziyad's story I could relate to. There were also parts that were foreign to me and really chaffed until I gave myself space to marinate on what they were saying. There were also parts that as hard as I tried, I simply don't understand their view. Early on in the book, the author defines certain terms they will come back to over and over again. Misafropedia. Carceral logics. I appreciate why they did that and that these terms are valuable for their understanding but I don't think they were an effective way to communicate it. I found myself counting how often they repeated those words instead of really listening to what was being said. I might re-evaluate my rating of this book later. It left me with a lot to ponder.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Goth Gone Grey

    Angry, painful, and heartfelt To the author, writing of the possible "terrible draft" that became this book: You're right, it's a terrible mix of trauma, regret, memories, pain, and more. The subject matter is difficult, angry, and apologetic in turns, occasionally veering to self-flagellation. It's rich with personal moments interspersed with sociological data, complete with sources. An example: "The carceral state cannot end the trauma that comes with carceral dissonance; it can only repurpose Angry, painful, and heartfelt To the author, writing of the possible "terrible draft" that became this book: You're right, it's a terrible mix of trauma, regret, memories, pain, and more. The subject matter is difficult, angry, and apologetic in turns, occasionally veering to self-flagellation. It's rich with personal moments interspersed with sociological data, complete with sources. An example: "The carceral state cannot end the trauma that comes with carceral dissonance; it can only repurpose it. The same gendered violence that caused me to lose my childhood turns seamlessly into an excuse to commit gendered violence against others. Like the cisgender, heterosexual Black men in my family I always knew I could never truly be like, I used my own powerlessness to legitimize asserting power over others in powerless positions." The subject chosen can be terrible, but the book itself? No. It's your tale, told to the reader with therapeutic, detached notes to your inner lost child. They're a curious mix of emotional and factual, trauma reactions leaving traces in every paragraph. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you peace.

  27. 4 out of 5

    su yan har

    Many atrocities done under the banner of white supremacy, especially for blacks, and our society definitely need to protect our children from sex crimes. Aside from those I found this book to be confusing, full of disjointed and illogical thoughts typical of men full of their own shit. The first twenty or so pages about anger and hatred, for real? While he is quick to point out violence against other black and against him, he try to justify his own violent behavior. He dances around issues when Many atrocities done under the banner of white supremacy, especially for blacks, and our society definitely need to protect our children from sex crimes. Aside from those I found this book to be confusing, full of disjointed and illogical thoughts typical of men full of their own shit. The first twenty or so pages about anger and hatred, for real? While he is quick to point out violence against other black and against him, he try to justify his own violent behavior. He dances around issues when it comes to his own problem rather state clearly what happen, makes me think he is not honest with himself. "I drink and do drug because we were poor", how illogical is that, alcohol is the most expensive item on my grocery list, not something I would buy often. Anger sure, being black and gay, having the people you love most not accept you, that I understand, but mostly I felt he is more angry that he can not accept himself, and this book is about trying to find and revert to his true self. action speak louder then words, men's thoughts not worth a darn, they tend to live by their ego, justify their action with false logic and ideology.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sonja

    I gave this book a 5 because of the way the author explained the difficulties of being Black in a white world so well. It's time we white people get to the point where we really understand this so we can help in any way to further the rights of people of color and treat them all with the respect they deserve. So many of us are sick to death of all the deaths of Black people that never had to happen if, mostly police, were trained the correct way instead of shooting a gun for no good reason. This I gave this book a 5 because of the way the author explained the difficulties of being Black in a white world so well. It's time we white people get to the point where we really understand this so we can help in any way to further the rights of people of color and treat them all with the respect they deserve. So many of us are sick to death of all the deaths of Black people that never had to happen if, mostly police, were trained the correct way instead of shooting a gun for no good reason. This violence against Black citizens needs to stop! The more we understand, the better we will be. While I liked the book so much, it was a little wordy. But he truly wanted us to understand what it's like being a person of color in a white world - and its not pleasant. We need to be hit over the head with a 2x4 in order to understand that, in any world, we are all just people, no matter what color, etc., and absolutely everyone needs to be treated with equal fairness in life, no matter what the situation is. I would recommend this book to everyone who is interested in Black Lives Matter.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shana

    For someone relatively young, Hari Ziyad has written an incredibly complex and comprehensive memoir, and with stunning beauty. They coin terms like "misafropedia" and "carceral dissonance" to explore their experience of growing up and existing as a Black and queer person within multiple systems. Their therapist suggests inner child work, and the letters to their younger self are simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful. Ziyad shows tremendous vulnerability and takes responsibility for the hurt t For someone relatively young, Hari Ziyad has written an incredibly complex and comprehensive memoir, and with stunning beauty. They coin terms like "misafropedia" and "carceral dissonance" to explore their experience of growing up and existing as a Black and queer person within multiple systems. Their therapist suggests inner child work, and the letters to their younger self are simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful. Ziyad shows tremendous vulnerability and takes responsibility for the hurt they have caused others, all while extending grace and understanding to those who have hurt them. Rather than focusing on the individuals, they look at the anti-Black, anti-queer society as a whole to understand both their history and present. At the same time, to understand their experience is to also investigate and consider what so many others have gone through in the attempt to simply exist in a society that tries to shut them down at every turn and wants to make them hate themselves and those like them. In putting this memoir out there, Ziyad does us a great favor. Selfishly, I hope they continue to share their excellence with us.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Hale

    A thoughtful, powerful memoir in which Ziyad charts their life and family experiences through the twin frameworks of 'misafropedia' (institutional hatred of black children) and the carceral state. Along the way we meet friends, family members, partners, and explore Ziyad's evolving relationships with them as they came to understand their identity. There are many sad or shocking moments, from discussions of police brutality to sexual assault, and each episode is treated with a careful, considered A thoughtful, powerful memoir in which Ziyad charts their life and family experiences through the twin frameworks of 'misafropedia' (institutional hatred of black children) and the carceral state. Along the way we meet friends, family members, partners, and explore Ziyad's evolving relationships with them as they came to understand their identity. There are many sad or shocking moments, from discussions of police brutality to sexual assault, and each episode is treated with a careful, considered language informed as much by therapy as by theory. They also talk at length about issues and experiences of gentrification, religiosity and prison abolition. Much of the book is addressed to the inner child Ziyad describes losing, and through this dialogue they attempt to make sense of past and present struggles. This is often a hard read, and I can only relate to so much of it, but their writing is earnest and empathetic and I'm glad to have spent a while with this.

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