The story of Black Lives Matter has been unfortunately rather horribly distorted and lost in the media. People call it a terrorist organization that should be subject to monitoring by the FBI (maybe it is...), see it as a bunch of angry black people who feel entitled to reparations and free stuff, that it was actually founded by a white man (!?), etc. This book is the memoir of Patrisse Khan-Cullors, one of the founders of BLM and how she (and others) came to BLM and this moment in history.
It's a story of her life and family. Her brother's struggles with mental illness and law enforcement and the justice system. How the author herself came to eventually identify as Queer. Her relationships with others and growing up in a system and a country that doesn't care for her or her family or others like her.
It's a painful and sometimes harrowing read. Other topics that are covered include sexual assault, drug abuse, poverty, domestic violence, homophobia/queerphobia, death at the hands of the state and law enforcement and more. It is not extremely detailed but these topics and others do get discussed in the text and it's unavoidable. Unfortunately the audience that really needs to read this book won't, not because of the subject matter itself but it's because they're not willing to look at why there is the need for Black Lives Matter.
I think some of the criticisms of the book have merit. Initially, I was under the impression that this was the story of BLM itself and how Cullors came together with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi. There is some of that towards the end but this wasn't quite what I thought it would be. And tied to that it's important to remember that this is just one person's story. It's probably close to impossible to capture *the* story of BLM given the history, political/social context, etc. but this book also made me curious to hear Garza's and Tometi's (and the stories of others) if they wish to share.
But overall it's a must-read. It's flows very well despite stuff that normally really bothers me (lack of quotation marks, sometimes what felt like moving back and forth in time, a co-writer, etc.). I found it to be a quick read despite the subject matter and while it's early I would call it the best book I've read so far. It wouldn't surprise me to see this nominated for awards and popping up on reading lists (which it should). It's definitely a title I'd recommend if you want to learn more about Black Lives Matter, what black people go through in the US and more.