A friend lent me her copy of We Love You, Charlie Freeman, and I have been thinking about it ever since. It is a difficult book to write about.
The debut novel of the talented Kaitlyn Greenidge, this book varies between the viewpoint of various members of the Freeman family (mother, father, 2 daughters) in the 1990s, and a woman in a Christian cult named Nymphadora in the 1920s. Both the Freemans and Nymphadora are black, and despite the differences that come from the time periods in which they are telling their story, there are also, sadly, too many similarities.
Ultimately, the impression that I received from this novel is that racism sucks, teenagers suck, and love can twist you up inside and cause you to accept treatment that you would never accept from someone you cared about less. There are a lot of relationships in this novel: first loves, parental love, bestial love, familial love. And there are many characters in this novel who rightfully feel abandoned, some of whom learn to cope with this feeling, some of whom react recklessly and defensively, and some of whom perform harmful acts (though probably not the ones you’re thinking of).
This novel was well written, interesting, and difficult. I felt clammy and physically distressed for the characters. I was not entirely sure where the story was going to go, and was hoping for the best. I was not entirely right, nor entirely wrong.
This novel is a very good read, and one that will really make you think. Highly recommend!
Have you read this novel, or are you planning to read it in the future?