BOOK REVIEW: CANDICE BRATHWAITE – I AM NOT YOUR BABY MOTHER

Today, it’s a book review of the brilliant new memoir/manifesto, I Am Not Your Baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite.

First of all, I’ve been going back and forth writing this introduction. I’m sure everyone knows what’s going on right now in terms of the killing of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter with protests in America and around the world. A lot of white people are turning to books to educate about race and white supremacy and when looking at my own books and my own reading, I thought it was diverse but I can do way more. I’ve ordered books about race, the history of race and I know it’s not going to solve everything or anything for that matter, but for me, books are a way that helps me understand what’s going on in society as well as the history, too. Black lives do matter and I think it’s important we put the work in and not just post a black square: donate if you can, read, learn, sign petitions,  support black writers/artists/creators/businesses, diverse social media feeds, write to politicians, protest safely, but most importantly, listen.

This is the synopsis to I Am Not Your Baby Mother by Candice Brathwaite:

It’s about time we made motherhood more diverse…

When Candice fell pregnant and stepped into the motherhood playing field, she found her experience bore little resemblance to the glossy magazine photos of women in horizontal stripe tops and the pinned discussions on mumsnet about what pushchair to buy. Leafing through the piles of prenatal paraphernalia, she found herself wondering: “Where are all the black mothers?”.

Candice started blogging about motherhood in 2016 after making the simple but powerful observation that the way motherhood is portrayed in the British media is wholly unrepresentative of our society at large.

The result is this thought-provoking, urgent and inspirational guide to life as a black mother. It explores the various stages in between pregnancy and waving your child off at the gates of primary school, while facing hurdles such as white privilege, racial micro-aggression and unconscious bias at every point. Candice does so with her trademark sense of humour and refreshing straight-talking, and the result is a call-to-arms that will allow mums like her to take control, scrapping the parenting rulebook to mother their own way.

I love following Candice on Instagram and I was really excited to read her book after following her process of writing it on her Instagram. This is part memoir and part manifesto on being a black British mother. It explores a wide range of topics: childbirth, white privilege, unconscious bias, money, mental health, knife crime, naming her children, and so much more. Candice uses statistics in her arguments – did you know that black women in the UK are five times more likely to die in childbirth than their white counterparts? This is a book that is enlightening, interesting and creates space for Candice to be seen and heard.

Candice is a brilliant writer – from the very first page, I was hooked and I couldn’t put it down. It’s urgent, important, personal but it’s straight-talking and refreshing with Candice’s sense of humour that runs throughout the book. I just loved her writing – from her similes and metaphors, writing about her family and her childhood, her relationship with her husband, her mother, grandmother, grandfather, and her father. This is a book for black British mothers and for them to be seen and for them to be heard but it’s a book for everyone, too and Candice says that in the book, too. I love this quote:

“This is a book I wish I had been gifted when I found out I was pregnant. Primarily I hope this book helps black British mothers feel validated and encouraged to take up space. For all others reading it, I hope I’m able to help accurately describe the many hurdles black British mothers are up against.”

I loved this book and I couldn’t put it down – essential reading. I can’t wait to read what Candice writes next in the future. It’s sold out on Amazon but it’s on e-book, audible but also available on Waterstones, Foyles, Hive, and of course, independent bookshops, of course. Candice is also on the latest episode of The High Low which is a great companion to the book and the Black Lives Matter movement right now.

Have you read I Am Not Your Mother by Candice Brathwaite? Let me know in the comments.

Thank you,

Corey.

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