Ima Read: The Summer We Got Free

17 Aug

I feel like no one knows how I spend my days and people rarely know where I am located. I have no interest in shedding light on any of these things. But I thought I might share something I like- that is also G-rated.

For the most part, I do what I want. But I rarely read what I want. There are always a million books I have to read or should be reading. This makes very little time for the things I want to read. Like novels! I normally use summer/winter breaks to read the things I want. Anyway lately I been reading lots of stuff I normally wouldn’t have the time to read.

The Summer We Got Free by Mia McKenzie was a surprisingly enjoyable read. I know who Mia McKenzie is through Black Girl Dangerous, her stuff is always being shared on social media. Often times we share very similar opinions- like our stance on Obama. Mia is pretty damn queer. She won a Lambda Literary award for the book, which is like the Pulitzer for gay people.  So I expected a very gay novel or at least one very focused on sexuality. Which in some ways it was, but it was so much more. I am more than a little fascinated by religion and the ways it indoctrinates us at a young age. While the book follows several characters. I was particularly drawn to Ava. The book fluctuates between 1959 and 1976 so we are able to see her as a child and also as an adult. As an adult she is rather apathetic, lives a mundane married life in her parents’ home. As the novel progress we learn and understand that this far from the person she once was. As a child she lit up rooms, was well liked, challenging, opinionated, basically- she was free. This freedom greatly intimidated many adults around including her father and the church’s pastor- she was dangerous because they could not control her. She thought for herself. As I read the book I couldn’t help but think about my own self and the freedom I possessed as a child. If anyone knew me as a child, they know I was more than a handful. My mother was talking to me today about my “issues” in school growing up. She had more parent teaching meetings for me, than any of my other siblings combined. She said at the end of my 3rd grade year my teacher admitted to her how intimidated she was by me. I find it a bit ridiculous that an adult would be intimidated by a child, but it was something that was true more often than not in my experience growing up. This book made me think about all the ways that I was free as a child as well as the ways that I am no longer free.

Even before I read the book, I was drawn to the title The Summer We Got Free. The thought of liberation is so exhilarating yet also daunting. While I have already been trying to make this my freedom summer, this book inspired me to work that much harder to get free. To reclaim the light that I had as a little girl. The amazing thing about being free is you know and understand your freedom means nothing unless you are actively engaged in getting others free.

I also really enjoyed that Mia set the book in Philly- her hometown. My old stomping grounds. Philly can be a magical place. I did a lot of growing there.

I think I just did a book review. Allison don’t be surprise if I send you a copy. Alison G. can’t wait to discuss this book with you.

While I am currently reading several things, the next book I am really hyped to read is Buck by M. K Asante. I have had both of his parents as professors and Maya Angelou sings the book’s praises. A good portion of the book takes place in Philly (pattern?)…It drops next Tuesday and Atira has already agreed to read it with me. Who else is down?


Posted by on August 17, 2013 in Ima Read


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4 responses to “Ima Read: The Summer We Got Free

  1. sistaoutsider

    August 17, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    I’ve read several really good reviews of this novel and I know I must read it soon! I was also drawn to the title, especially since I think some of us are still trying to “get free.”

    • justtab

      August 17, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      Yes you do! I can’t wait to hear your opinion of it.

  2. yrolliug

    August 17, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    What ways are you no longer free?

  3. Jovonda

    September 30, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Tab as a youngster !!! I considered u my best in school friend during our middle school years … Eating three bags of salt and vinegar chips in one sitting . You loved those but u would always share:)

    I’m pretty sure mr yountz was super intimidate by you … I remember very well your handwriting lol (I hope it’s gotten better)… But he gave you a 0 for a written assignment we had to turn in because he couldn’t read it and you went buck on him ! Saying “oh I didn’t know this was a freaking handwriting class”
    Lmao he told me to try to calm you down haha he just couldn’t handle it

    Gotta love you tho , I look up to u more than u could ever imagine . My definition of a free spirit is tabitha Mary Jamie Chester ( I hope I put that in the right order). We all have that point in our lives where we can see when we begin to loose our freedom . Go back further than that … To right before it begin to slip away . When everything was free I have to go back pretty far but I , myself am trying to get back to her ! I need her


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