Stories of struggle and triumph provide hope in NEVERTHELESS, WE PERSISTED: 48 Voices of Defiance, Strength, and Courage.
Unfortunately, hate and prejudice have rocked humanity for a long, long time. But you know what else is as old as time? The power of overcoming. In Nevertheless, We Persisted, 48 individual voices express their uphill journeys. The writers come from various races, religions, backgrounds, the LGBTQA+ community–you name it. I have no doubt readers will be able to find pieces of themselves in at least one of these tales.
Nevertheless, We Persisted covers tough topics, but they are also topics we, as a society, need to discuss. Oppression, racism, homophobia, loss, and mental health are only a few of the subjects addressed in this eye-opening novel. Hearing how such negativity affected real-life people is heartbreaking. But Nevertheless, We Persisted doesn’t leave the reader in a dense fog; it leads the reader into the light. The writers end on notes of light and strength to offer encouragement and hope. Each story includes the courage, beauty, and support the author found among difficult times.
The one hang-up I had with Nevertheless, We Persisted is the various writing styles. Some were certainly cleaner and more fluid than others. However, even when reading an author’s chapter whose choices I was not crazy about, I was still able to appreciate their story, and that’s what truly matters. Each chapter is quite short (an average of maybe four pages), so it didn’t take long to dive into a new style.
As soon as I’d heard about Nevertheless, We Persisted, I wanted to read it. I admit, as a straight, Caucasian woman, I have not experienced a lot of the struggles the writers have, but that made me want to devour this book all the more. I’m a big advocate for equal rights for all, and I think part of that fight is truly seeing and appreciating people for who they are. Nevertheless, We Persisted is an eye-opening read that everyone can benefit from reading.
RATING: 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS
A powerful collection of essays from actors, activists, athletes, politicians, musicians, writers, and teens, including Senator Amy Klobuchar, actress Alia Shawkat, actor Maulik Pancholy, poet Azure Antoinette, teen activist Gavin Grimm, and many, many more, each writing about a time in their youth when they were held back because of their race, gender, or sexual identity–but persisted.
“Aren’t you a terrorist?” “There are no roles for people who look like you.” “That’s a sin.” “No girls allowed.” They’ve heard it all. Actress Alia Shawkat reflects on all the parts she was told she was too “ethnic” to play. Former NFL player Wade Davis recalls his bullying of gay classmates in an attempt to hide his own sexuality. Teen Gavin Grimm shares the story that led to the infamous “bathroom bill,” and how he’s fighting it. Holocaust survivor Fanny Starr tells of her harrowing time in Auschwitz, where she watched her family disappear, one by one.
What made them rise up through the hate? What made them overcome the obstacles of their childhood to achieve extraordinary success? How did they break out of society’s limited view of who they are and find their way to the beautiful and hard-won lives they live today? With a foreword by Minnesota senator and up-and-coming Democratic party leader Amy Klobuchar, these essays share deeply personal stories of resilience, faith, love, and, yes, persistence.