Before I post about the new reading year, there are a few memorable reads from my 2020 log that I haven’t mentioned yet.
Like Pourin’ Down Rain, Cheryl Foggo’s memoir about growing up in 1960s Calgary, in a small and tight-knit Black community. When she was young, she heard many “horrific” tales of life south of the border and felt “lucky to have been born in Canada”. When a specific neighbour was prejudiced, she perceived that as being one individual’s contempt and she didn’t attribute “their bigotry to a world condition”. Her memories of childhood include Hair Day (“a torment, a day of relentless brushing, pulling, plunging into the yellow tub of water and then, at the end, the dreaded ‘hot comb’”) and a local march to honour Martin Luther King, Jr after his murder (when she was eleven years old).
Foggo takes readers back, observing her younger self with an appreciation for changing times. She notes, for instance, that, as a child, she did not fully understand King’s struggles and how his efforts were intended to change the lives of Black Americans, but had a literal understanding of it, so that she believed his efforts to have Blacks ride buses in the front seats would have a profound impact on their lives. In a way, she also takes readers forward, for initially her memoir was published in 1990, and this thirtieth anniversary edition, revised in 2020, affords her the opportunity to update the document in footnotes (which consistently offer a modern perspective on past events and once made me laugh aloud—I’ll simply say there was a cake involved).