BOOK REVIEWS

REVIEW: SUMMERTIME FINE – JASON B. CRAWFORD (VARIANT LITERATURE)

That must be what god meant when he called us family
If I cook for you, it’s only to say I care
If I use a little extra butter, It just means I love you
It’s how my grandmother showed me
I was taught how to create family in her kitchen
I promise I’m still learning

from “The Chicken Spot”

Somewhere between becoming god and going to a block party we “make a story out our name”. We appreciate community in one hand and question where we come from in the other. It’s the fight over double dutch. It’s friends that die, and movies that explain how. It’s the first kiss, the teeth in the jar, the shotgun, the burial plot.

Jason B. Crawford’s Summertime Fine (Variant Literature) is not a Fresh Prince song. It is not an anthem for the cool kids. It is not storytelling for the sake of hearing one’s voice. This is for those trying to find peace in their own skin – their own community. It’s never turning from those you love. It’s acknowledging who you are in your surroundings, and remembering you are loved, and that even at its worst, “she kept those teeth….in a jar in the kitchen.” It’s never letting go of the littlest details.

This is Crawford finding themselves surrounded by a backdrop where “we give black boys so much grief for their bones…. [and] sing songs about children gone”. This is a scream that you are not tainted water. You are part of the moment, not the moment gone. You will not be discarded. Somewhere you remember “that joy of being alive”.

Purchase your copy of Summertime Fine from Variant Literature.

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