Piecing Me Together
Piecing Me Together is a thought-provoking and engrossing novel about a young teenager, Jade, who describes herself as one of those girls ‘with coal skin and hula-hoop hips’ brought up to ‘take opportunities every chance we get’. Raised in New Columbia, one of the poorer areas of Portland, Oregon (the author’s native city), Jade, a bright, creative girl with a particular interest in learning new languages and the arts, certainly does avail, or at least is encouraged to avail, of many opportunities.
These include a scholarship to a prestigious school on the other side of town, a mentorship programme run by successful black women for under-privileged black girls and the possibility to travel abroad and go to college. Yet some of these opportunities undermine Jade’s very sense of self and make her question the well-intentioned motives of those trying to help her. How do such people perceive her and does she even know where she fits in anymore? What can she do to empower herself and find her own way in the world?
Both bittersweet and wry in its observations on the inequalities in contemporary American society, this novel explores themes of identity, gender and place, challenging stereotypes about the lives of black and white, rich and poor people. Gritty and tender, touching and humorous, this is a book you will not be able to put down once you start reading it.