• Rachel Penate

Wandering in Strange Lands by Morgan Jerkins

Updated: Sep 9, 2020

I had the honor of reading Wandering in Strange Lands this July as a part of the Libro.fm ALC program, and I have to say, it could not have come at a more perfect time. Jerkins' beautifully written memoir is a fascinating story about lost family history, but it is also, more deeply, a moving story of self-discovery.

Wandering in Strange Lands follows Jerkins as she journeys to each corner of the US in search of questions she's had all her life about her family beliefs, customs, and history. What appears as simply a memoir is, in turn, actually a well-explored expose on the awful conditions Black migrants have found themselves fighting over the last 400 years ... from slavery, to land ownership, to sun-down towns, to the middle class dream turned nightmare.

Jerkins' ability to talk about the important (yet all too easily forgotten) history of Black migration and simultaneously about the inner workings of her heart was just simply impressive. I've never read anything quite like this book and I'm so grateful it came at a time when I really needed to hear it. This book would be paired perfectly with Britt Bennett's The Vanishing Half. Much of what Jerkins discusses in Wandering in Strange Lands is contextualized and explored by The Vanishing Half's main characters.

An absolute recommendation for those of you who love nonfiction, specifically history and memoir, or if you just desire to learn more about Black history and are willing to branch out of your comfort zone.

A strong ★★★★ from me.

(HUGE thank you to Libro.fm for this free ALC. Always so incredibly grateful for the depth and breadth of stories you provide and share with the world.)

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