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Something Like Beautiful: One Single Mother's Story

por Asha Bandele

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5810353,586 (3.38)13
"asha bandele has a poignant story to share in Something Like Beautiful. It is the love that comes through that makes this such a compelling tale." --Nikki Giovanni   Award-winning journalist, and author ofThe Prisoner's Wife and normal">Daughter, and performance poet featured on HBO'S Def Poetry Jam, asha bandele once again writes from the heart in her lyrical and intimate memoirSomething Like Beautiful--a moving story of love, loss, motherhood, and survival. Sharing the story of her struggles as a single black mother in New York City and her tragically self-destructive near-breakdown, asha bears her soul in a book Rebecca Walker, author of Baby Love, calls "courageous, profound, and achingly beautiful."… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 10 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
After reading The Prisoner's Wife, once I saw this book on sale, I simply had to pick it up to read. Although not as engaging as The Prisoner's Wife, it's interesting to read about what happened between asha and Rashid, and how she coped with the challenges that she faced raising Nisa alone on the outside. ( )
  schatzi | Dec 26, 2011 |
Subtitled "One single mother's story", that's exactly what this is. bandele writes poetry as well as prose, and it shows in this memoir. Maybe it's because our lives are so different - I'm a childless, old, married lady, as WASP as you can get, and bandele is a young, single, Black mother - but as beautifully as bandele writes, I had trouble connecting with her. Her story is interesting and very touching, it just didn't grab me. The best parts of the memoir are when she is talking about her daughter. bandele clearly adores the girl.

I can see where this book would give hope and encouragement to others in the same situation and where it would spark interesting discussions in book clubs and other reading groups, but it just wasn't my cup of tea. ( )
  dulcibelle | Mar 20, 2009 |
When in college, asha meets and marries a prisoner in a jail she visits for one of her classes. She is stunned by how intelligent, compassionate, and loveable Rashid is and believes he regrets his crime. She also believes that he will get out on his first opportunity, but she doesn’t want to have a baby while he’s in prison. When she finds herself pregnant for the first time, she has an abortion. The second time, she can’t bring herself to do so again, and has the baby, convinced that Rashid will be released soon. She never sees herself as a single mother, until Rashid gets in more trouble that he doesn’t deserve and asha leaves him, unable to continue on with a husband she may not have a future with. This is the story of asha’s struggle to cope as a single mother and her all-consuming love for her daughter, Risa.

I’m not a mother and my parents are still happily married, but I know single moms have it hard. Many of the people closest to me have just their mom and it’s always rough even if the father stays involved and pays child support. Despite that, I felt asha focused just a little too much on herself despite this love for her daughter. She develops alcoholism and tells her daughter that she needs “mommy time” on a very frequent basis; it’s hard to see how devoted she is when she keeps finding other things to spend her time with. She also sets a bad example with abusive relationships. This is all despite a good upbringing, a job, and a college education. I found significant, though, her candid admission of how difficult it is for a black woman alone and in general the stereotypes that surround her despite what she does to buck them. Seeing why an intelligent, beautiful woman would stay with an abusive man was a revelation to me; I still think I’d leave, especially if I had a young daughter who might be influenced by my actions.

I guess in the end I couldn’t really relate to this book, perhaps because asha’s experience is so outside of my own and because I don’t believe I’d make the choices she did. I also found it very depressing. That said, perhaps it’s important for me to read books like this in order to get a greater picture of the world outside of my own little bubble. I still don’t think anything could compel me to marry a prisoner, though, and from that perspective it’s very hard to understand asha or feel true sympathy for her despite all that suffering.

http://chikune.com/blog/?p=417 ( )
  littlebookworm | Feb 7, 2009 |
The thing that strikes me the most about Something Like Beautiful: One Single Mother's Story by asha bandele is the honesty in her writing. Situations that might seem shocking, disturbing even, situations that might make one jump to conclusions, to stereotypes, are told so candidly that one easily falls into the life of this young, single mother. If she were any other speaker, we might think her a fool; but this woman is smart.

Still, she makes the big mistakes. She falls in love with a prisoner, a man held for involvement in a gangland murder. She conceives a child with him during conjugal visits. She meets another man who abuses her and battles with the depression and addiction that comes from living the regrettable. Still, through all of her honest telling, we see ourselves in her. Our decisions might not mirror hers exactly, but we understand how smart women make such amazingly stupid decisions.

bandale writes from the heart in unique mix of reflection and narrative. This can become disconcerting at times, but lends to the honesty in the telling. She never shies away from the seedy parts, nor welcomes pity. It’s easy to hear a poets voice on the page, where her greatest sonnets are reserved for her daughter.

My qualm with Something Like Beautiful: One Single Mother's Story lies in the depth of the tale. Because her flowery style is suited to the grandiose nature of the story, the actual details get watered down. I wish this story had been told in three parts (and I suspect I’ll be looking for The Prisoner’s Wife to fill in the first part). In the end, I wanted to know more about her battle with depression, her freeing from abuse and her divorce. However, I suspect she wanted this memoir to be one of feeling rather than detail, and in that she succeeded.

Recommended for memoir readers, women who’ve lost their way or found their way back.

Review first published on Many A Quaint & Curious Volume ( )
  Tasses | Jan 27, 2009 |
This book, not quite 200 pages long, took me ages to read. A little bit about Bandlele - she married a convicted murderer who was incarcerated at the time after meeting him through a college program. Bandele wrote about this part of her life in her memoir The Prisoner's Wife which I have not read. Something Like Beautiful deals primarily with her journey as a single mother but she muses on a variety of topics. I enjoyed the middle section of this book the most. This part was more about how she dealt with everyday life and frustrations, her struggle with depression, and her struggle with an abusive relationship. This part is bookended with sections that I would describe as lyrical and poetic, yet also melodramatic and repetitive. I think books can create an atmosphere as you read them, one of terror or suspense, one of laughter or sadness. Every time I picked up this book I felt as though I were sinking into the depths of melancholy. I think a big problem I had and this is, I'm sure, prejudice on my part, is that I couldn't get past the fact that this woman married a convicted murderer serving time. My feeling is that if you're considering doing this, you have issues. Along with that, I couldn't help but wonder why prisoners should get conjugal visits, and get to spend nearly 2 days in a trailer with someone and the opportunity to create children. But that's just me. ( )
  tara35 | Jan 27, 2009 |
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"asha bandele has a poignant story to share in Something Like Beautiful. It is the love that comes through that makes this such a compelling tale." --Nikki Giovanni   Award-winning journalist, and author ofThe Prisoner's Wife and Daughter, and performance poet featured on HBO'S Def Poetry Jam, asha bandele once again writes from the heart in her lyrical and intimate memoirSomething Like Beautiful--a moving story of love, loss, motherhood, and survival. Sharing the story of her struggles as a single black mother in New York City and her tragically self-destructive near-breakdown, asha bears her soul in a book Rebecca Walker, author of Baby Love, calls "courageous, profound, and achingly beautiful."

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