This is a searing and gorgeously written memoir that grapples with issues of race, sexuality, class and family. Jones is a poet and it shows in his writing. Do yourself a favor and dive into this deeply moving memoir.— Sarah Lofstrom
October 2019 Indie Next List
“Saeed Jones is supremely talented, so I expected his memoir to be great. I did NOT expect, however, to be left immobile in my chair after reading that final paragraph, processing the beauty of his words and those indelible sentences he’s generous enough to share with us. How We Fight for Our Lives is a moving and intimate portrait of the writer growing up as a young, gay black man and trying to understand the complex realities of his identity. We also gain insight to Jones’ relationship with his mother, a story that left me in pieces by the end. How We Fight for Our Lives is raw, difficult, and truthful, and completely stuffed with love.”
— Eugenia Vela, BookPeople, Austin, TX
Summer 2020 Reading Group Indie Next List
“An exciting declaration of passion and tenacity, and what it’s like to be young, gifted, black, and queer in an America where every corner is marked with the specter of hatred, ignorance, and tragedy. Through adversity, Saeed Jones still manages to find a path to remain whole and resolute—within the tears, he finds purpose. This book cuts a groove into you.”
— Luis Correa, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA
**A 2019 KIRKUS PRIZE FINALIST** "A coming-of-age memoir marks the emergence of a major literary voice...Masterful." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "An astonishing, unparalleled memoir...A rhapsody in the truest sense of the word." --Roxane Gay "Every single living half-grown and grown-up body needs to read this book." --Jacqueline Woodson One of the most anticipated books of Fall 2019--as selected by O, The Oprah Magazine; Marie Claire; Entertainment Weekly; Time; The Millions; Parade; Library Journal; Booklist; Refinery29; Pacific Standard; Good Housekeeping; Nylon; Pacific Standard; Goodreads; and more."People don't just happen," writes Saeed Jones. "We sacrifice former versions of ourselves. We sacrifice the people who dared to raise us. The 'I' it seems doesn't exist until we are able to say, 'I am no longer yours.'" Haunted and haunting, How We Fight for Our Lives is a stunning coming-of-age memoir. Jones tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence--into tumultuous relationships with his family, into passing flings with lovers, friends, and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another--and to one another--as we fight to become ourselves. An award-winning poet, Jones has developed a style that's as beautiful as it is powerful--a voice that's by turns a river, a blues, and a nightscape set ablaze. How We Fight for Our Lives is a one-of-a-kind memoir and a book that cements Saeed Jones as an essential writer for our time.