October 16, 2021

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MEMORIAL, Bryan Washington December 2020 “We take our memories wherever we go, …

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MEMORIAL, Bryan Washington
December 2020

“We take our memories wherever we go, and what’s left are the ones that stick around, and that’s how we make a life.”

Washington’s dramedy focuses on Benson and Mike, an interracial couple questioning their relationship. On the day Mike’s Japanese mother shows up on their doorstep, he leaves for Osaka to visit his dying father. As Mike comes to terms with their strained relationship and his family history, Benson spends time with Mike’s mother where he finally figures out what he needs to do.

An interracial queer couple without a White person? Yes, please.

I really took my time with this one to savor the character writing. Benson and Mike were superb characters. Both having endured family related traumas and racialized experiences, they were multidimensional, complicated, and deeply impacted by their family histories, and you can see where those struggles bleed into their own relationship. It’s tough reading their interactions for most of the book because even the most mundane comments have a sting to them. I was really hoping for some more growth and healing on the horizon for both Benson and Mike, but unfortunately it’s hard to tell if either would be taking tangible steps in that direction. But that’s just how it goes sometimes, isn’t it?

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing style. This is nitpicky, but I can’t stand lack of quotations marks in books (I had this same issue with Dominicana.) I thought the dialogue was a bit stilted and some closing chapter lines were trying too hard to be poignant, which wasn’t needed.
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