[REVIEW] Too Much Soul, by Cindy Wilson

(Buy this book here.)

It’s January 19th. I’ve read 6 books so far in 2022.

I’ve reviewed one.

This year has been MAD so far, y’all. How are you doing?

Moving on to a review, I suggested this book as part of my January Equal Opportunity Reading Challenge and all I have to say is…can y’all forgive me?

So this is Cindy Wilson. She was adopted as a baby from South Korea into a conservative Black American Southern family. She seems like a very lovely person and I really enjoy the interviews she’s done with various Youtubers–in fact, that’s how I found this book.

Her story is unusual, and her willingness to share that story should be applauded, first and foremost. But there’s something I’ve learned from reading memoirs — interesting experiences don’t make interesting people. The way that Wilson’s story is presented in this book makes it seem disorganized and kind of shallow. She skims the surface of her cultural experiences but her race is almost used as a gimmick. We’re supposed to ooh and ahh at her stories of going to Black churches, an HBCU and competing on mostly Black cheerleading squads just because she did those things while being physically Asian, but aside from describing some racist incidents and parroting some very simple “we are all human” race talk there’s not a lot of deep reflection.

Speaking of church though–there is SO much religion in this book. There are passages that read almost like altar calls in every section and while the intentions behind them are clearly sweet, they’re so aggressively non-sequitur that they just sound a bit fake. We get it–you believe in Jesus. But what does that mean, exactly, outside of boilerplate church speeches?

Then again, there is something nice about how run-of-the-mill this is. There really is nothing weird about being Asian or being in a Black family, and I did appreciate the normality of it all. Clearly the author is entirely immersed in Black culture–at the time of the book she hadn’t even been back to Korea since her adoption. Cindy Wilson is a culturally Black woman who is racially Asian. It’s just that this book makes it seems like she belongs to the most basic variant of Black culture and I wanted more.

I wanted to love this, I really did, but it didn’t hit. FWIW, Wilson’s interviews about her experiences on YouTube are much better and more depthy, and I highly recommend watching them.

Two stars and some seasoning to Too Much Soul

(Greetings beautiful people! How’s your 2022! Quick reminder as usual–this blog has affiliate relationships with sites like Bookshop and if you click any of the links here and make a purchase, I’ll receive a commission. I usually use it to buy more books. Peace, fellow readers, and go read something good!)


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