See No Stranger, Valarie Kaur

(Buy it HERE.)

Breathe and push.

This book is so many things, and I loved them all. ⠀

It’s a manifesto–a revolutionary encouragement to love not only with community and caring, but with law, protests, and the pent up rage that comes from receiving injustice. It’s warm, empowering, & sharply attuned to our current times and their particular dangers.⠀

It’s a memoir. Kaur intersperses calls to love and action with her own experiences growing up Sikh on a California farm, going to Harvard & Yale, becoming an activist, falling in love, having children, and building communities of love and power. There’s a stunning vulnerability and bold femininity in these stories that speaks to the breadth and depth of womanhood–not only love, softness and warrior triumph but also abusive relationships, assault, sexism, reproductive issues and the unique trauma that Black and brown women face in America when feeling the need to choose between protecting the men in our communities who are often victimized by law enforcement and seeking legal justice when some of those same men choose to victimize us. ⠀

It’s a memorial. Prior to reading this I was not aware of the deadly extent of anti-Sikh domestic terrorism in the US, or the way it has increased, as has most domestic terror, in recent years. Kaur paints us a thorough, intimate portrait of the grief and pain felt by the American Sikh community and gives us a primer in the faith that has empowered many of the people in that community to forgive and rebuild. I have an enduring respect for Sikhs, and this part of the book only deepened it. (It also made me tell myself, “I will not cry on this train” approximately 347 times while reading. Whew.) ⠀

It’s a manual. The last section of the book contains tools and exercises to enact some of the principles described in the manifesto part, as well as some beautiful translations of Sikh scripture done by Kaur herself.⠀

This book had a profound personal effect on me as well, and while I wanted to weave bits of my own story into this review, I’ve tried several times and you know what? I’m not in a place to be vulnerable like that yet. I’ll write about it later, I think, after the words in this book have had a chance to percolate next to my soul for a little while longer.

Meanwhile–5 stars, the deepest of breaths and the strongest of pushes to Valarie Kaur’s See No Stranger. Go read it.

(As always, beautiful people, this is your regular reminder that this blog has affiliate relationships with excellent entities such as Bookshop, and any clicks and purchases made from this site will result in commission being earned. You know I always keep it 100–this one’s worth buying, not borrowing, and I’m the first to tell you when you should hit the library instead. Peace!)

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