Review: Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

Sunday, June 10, 2018

"Jade believes she must get out of her neighborhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother says she has to take every opportunity. She has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From “bad” neighborhoods.

But Jade doesn’t need support. And just because her mentor is black doesn’t mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.

Friendships, race, privilege, identity—this compelling and thoughtful story explores the issues young women face.

What a great book that smashed stereotypes in the BEST of ways.

There are some crap thoughts that people have about "urban" communities, especially communities where there are a lot of black and brown people. In those communities we assume that there are drugs, gangs, guns, prostitution, and crappy educational systems. Because we assume that those things make up the community we make assumptions about the people in those communities, the people aren't to be trust, they're up to no good, they're uneducated. Well this book killed all that.

Yes, it is true that Jade went to a mostly white school on the good side of town, let's get back to that later. I loved Renee Watson's portrayal of Jade's community and the people in it. When Jade and her best friend were discussing homework, it's possible that the work Jade was assigned at her school would better prepare her for "the real working world", but the friends work better connected her with their black culture. I also loved that Jade's friend was an amazing poet. It isn't often that we get to see black people doing anything other than sports. Moving away from Jade's BFF there was the nice man at the corner store who gave the kids extra food just because he was a nice man and they were nice kids. Jade's mom! There's this thought that single parents who work more than one job don't parent their children. This particular stereotype isn't always mean, typically the person who falls into this thought pattern feel bad for the hard working parent (normally the mom). But Jade's mom squashed that. Their schedule was kept on a white board on the fridge. Her mom was not going to let Jade wander into the world with someone she didn't know. While this mom may not have been in the house all the time, she was NOT an absentee parent and I loved it!

Now we have the life Jade lived while she was at school. Oh boy do I understand that. The amount of people who've mimicked words and phrases that I've said, or people who said they wished they could see me "pat my head like black women with a weave" is... disturbing. At a white affluent school, Jade had to make sure that she presented herself in a very specific way in order to make her time there as easy as possible. The teachers, the school its self did something very common. Every program that the school suggested Jade for was something to help "fix" her, as opposed to something that she might enjoy. I can understand where they were coming from (kind of), the school wanted to do what was best for Jade, and what they assumed was best was SAT prep, as opposed to something that encouraged her interest.

 This book was awesome. There was so much to take in here. I can't even get to it all. Do yourself a favor, read it friends! 


  1. I just read this book last week and want to write a review too. As a white woman who lives in Portland, whose dad grew up in Jade's neighborhood when it was diverse--that is, before the white flight of the 1970s and the gentrification of this century--I love the way her work really makes me confront my hidden biases. Also, as a white teacher of mostly brown (Latinx) kids, it makes me think hard about the ways in which I do and don't try to build them up.

    1. Wow, what a connection! This book really caught my by surprise. I love that it's making people take a step back and look at the type of help they're offering. It all comes for a good place, but can always use evaluating. You should definitely write a review. It's always fun to see different people perspectives on literature.


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