I Don’t Want to Die Poor: Essays

Michael Arceneaux. Atria, $17 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-9821-2930-9
In an often funny, and sometimes moving, collection of essays, Arceneaux (I Can’t Date Jesus) explores a defining decision in his life: financing his Howard University communications degree through private student loans. While writing with humor and outrage about an education system that saddles students with debilitating levels of debt, he also discusses his brief time as a cast member of a reality TV show, his interest in the intricacies of health insurance, his romantic woes, and his search for gay porn he finds palatable. Those born before the Reagan administration might find themselves turning to Urban Dictionary to decipher some of his vocabulary, but readers across generational lines will appreciate the sensitivity with which Arceneaux examines his relationships to potential partners, or to his mother. In discussing her harsh disciplinary methods, he writes “I wouldn’t have wanted to touch you in any way that didn’t convey love and adoration, but I would never have stood there and let you strike me.” That quality—the love of a family that instills both gratitude and opposition—informs much of this book. By turns angry, hilarious, and introspective, this should strike a chord with millennials. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich, & Bourret. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/27/2020
Release date: 04/07/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-0402-7
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