We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza is a powerful and heartbreaking contemporary story. If you only read one book this year – make sure it is We Are Not Like Them.
This is a book about friendship. This is a book about lives. This is a book about racial injustice. It is racial injustice that African Americans face every day of their lives. It is heartbreaking and it needs to change.
The book is about a friendship between two girls who grew up together – one black and one white. They were inseparable. “Sometimes you just need to be around someone who loved you before you were a fully formed person.” Their friendship is strong – until the day it is tested to the limits.
Being a young black man in America is dangerous. The novel explores the horrors that are faced daily.
The opening of the novel is shocking and heartbreaking. It sets the tone for what is to come.
It is awful to see people still being judged by the colour of their skin. “My good grades don’t matter… how faithful I was, how kind, none of it could ever erase the fact that people were going to hate me.” This is wrong. This has always been wrong. When will we learn to love people for who they are?
The authors reinforce the message that racial prejudice has never gone away as we hear of a terrible lynching fifty years earlier. “They just keep killing us” is a heartbreaking cry of a grandmother.
“White folks… telling us they can feel our pain… They have no idea what ‘our pain’ feels like and they never will.” Until we have walked a mile in the shoes of another we cannot know how they feel.
Another telling sentence was: “You gotta work twice as hard to get half as far as them.” Why? In 2021 the world should show equality to all people.
The action is told from the alternating points of view of Riley and Jen. We become intimately acquainted with both as we share their individual struggles and pain.
We Are Not Like Them will break your heart. It should make you angry that the world is so unequally balanced and that racial prejudice and intolerance still exists in 2021. We must learn to love each other and see the content of our character rather than the colour of our skin.
Make sure you read We Are Not Like Them today.
I received a free copy from Harper Collins via Net Galley. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.