Imani All Mine by Connie Rose Porter has been one of my absolute favorite books since I first read it in the seventh grade. I loved and still love reading stories about black girls that feel authentic--stories that felt like they were about people I see in my own life. I had already loved reading and was always getting lost in books long before I read this book but this book holds a very special place in my heart because it took me on an emotional roller coaster. I'm a very emotional person. I feel emotions very intensely and this wonderful piece of literature had me sobbing uncontrollably in my room the morning I finished it when I was supposed to be getting ready for school. I had no idea that books could have that power over me. I fell in love.
I personally think it's a must read. Imani All Mine is a honest and real story that anyone can find themselves in. Imani All Mine tells the story of Tasha, a fourteen-year-old single mother. Throughout this book we see the various impacts of race, stigma, trauma, poverty, and faith on Tasha's life. I was excited to read this book again as a part of The Free Black Women's Library's 2017 Reading Challenge, a book from your childhood. I was really excited to read this book again as an adult and compare the experiences.
Reading it as an adult, what I find the most interesting about this book is Tasha's relationship with religion and Christianity. We're able to see what, I feel, is a very honest relationship with God. One that relies on faith and blessings but also openly questions how this religion can work in a world where horrible things happen to innocent people and where horrible people can be forgiven for the awful things that they have done. This is a challenge for a lot of people trying to maintain their faith when going through difficult times.
Another really important part is the description of the way that memories of trauma not only live in our minds but throughout our entire bodies as well. When incredibly stressful or traumatizing events happen to people the impact that they have on their bodies can last for a long time after the initial event happens. In Tasha's world it would be expected to get over things quickly and move on with life but the body remembers."God is a mystery to me."
"The places where there is memory in you. Underneath your tongue. The middle of your bones. The lonesome spaces deep inside."
I loved reading this book again! It definitely took me back to the seventh grade and I discovering some themes I didn't notice when I was 12. I was definitely moved to tears and uncontrollable sobbing again. I'm still so in love with this book. If you have not read this book yet, you definitely should.
Happy Reading! ♥