Genre: fiction, coming-of-age
Key Stage: 3
Genesis Begins Again, Alicia D. Williams (2019)
Genesis Begins Again is a truly absorbing and courageous story which opened my eyes to a very different perspective and the concept of colourism. It explores the experience of a thirteen-year-old Genesis Anderson who is a darker skin complexion than her classmates and family members, the bullying and negative messaging this provokes, and the impact it has:
‘I want to say something, but what? That I think I’m cute? ’Cause I’m not. That I have good hair? ’Cause I don’t. That I’m not dark? ’Cause I am.’
Her tough family circumstances add to challenges Genesis faces especially when they find themselves evicted again, and again. It’s hard, as her list of things she hates about herself reaches 100, to imagine any positive force in her life but there is – and it grows like her talented voice. I particularly like the way the writer Williams includes references to accomplished black activists, athletes and musicians such as Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Etta James.
I found myself rooting for Genesis to finally have the acceptance she craves and deserves and, without spoiling the story, it comes from the best source…. It’s a book that stays with you long after you close it and reminds you of the power we each have over influencing someone’s life for the good.
If you like this, you might like: With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds and Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson
Reviewer: Ms Harrison