Thank You to Poetic Book Tours for allowing me to be on this book tour to let others know about this book coming out March 2021.
ARISA WHITE is a Cave Canem fellow, Sarah Lawrence College alumna, an MFA graduate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and author of the poetry chapbooks Disposition for Shininess, Post Pardon, Black Pearl, Perfect on Accident, and “Fish Walking” & Other Bedtime Stories for My Wife won the inaugural Per Diem Poetry Prize. Published by Virtual Artists Collective, her debut full-length collection, Hurrah’s Nest, was a finalist for the 2013 Wheatley Book Awards, 82nd California Book Awards, and nominated for a 44th NAACP Image Awards. Her second collection, A Penny Saved, inspired by the true-life story of Polly Mitchell, was published by Willow Books, an imprint of Aquarius Press in 2012. Her latest full-length collection, You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened, was published by Augury Books and nominated for the 29th Lambda Literary Awards. Most recently, Arisa co-authored, with Laura Atkins, Biddy Mason Speaks Up, a middle-grade biography in verse on the midwife and philanthropist Bridget “Biddy” Mason, which is the second book in the Fighting for Justice series. She is currently co-editing, with Miah Jeffra and Monique Mero, the anthology Home is Where You Queer Your Heart, which will be published by Foglifter Press in 2021. And forthcoming in February 2021, from Augury Books, her poetic memoir Who’s Your Daddy.
Who’s Your Daddy is a lyrical genre-bending coming-of-age tale featuring a young, queer, black Guyanese American woman who, while seeking to define her own place in the world, negotiates an estranged relationship with her father.
Who’s Your Daddy?, a hybrid memoir combining poetry and creative nonfiction, is a meditation on paternal absences, intergenerational trauma, and toxic masculinity. Who’s Your Daddy? asks us to consider how the relationships we are born into can govern us, even through absence, and shape the dynamics we find and forge as we grow. White lyrically moves across distance and time, from Brooklyn to California to Guyana. Her book enacts rituals that plumb the interior reaches of the heart to assemble disconnected and estranged parts into something whole, tender, and strong.
Thoughts and Themes: This review was a little difficult to write as this type of story telling is one that I had not read before. I have read memoirs in the past but I had not read one that used the methods that this book has used. I really liked the way that this book makes you think about how relationships dictate so many aspects of our lives as we watch relationships change the narrative in this memoir.
Something that I really like about the way that this story is being told is how it feels like a conversation with someone. This memoir feels like the narrator is sitting down to tell you this story which made it so that this story felt a lot more relatable.
Characters: There is one main character throughout this book even as she talks about others that come along in her journey. The main character is the same person who is narrating this story and it was nice to be able to connect to the story teller in a different method.
Writing Style: I really enjoyed how each poem is kept on a separate page so that the story flows really well. I thought that the choice to have a portion of the first sentence in bold was a great way to give you a glance at what the focus of this poem was going to be. I thought that this was an interesting way to write a memoir and really liked the way that poetry was combined with creative nonfiction.
I recommend this to those of you who enjoy reading memoirs and may want a new way of reading them.