THE PERISHING by Natashia Deon

⭐⭐.5

October BOTM selection. 

Lou is a young Black woman who wakes up in an alley. The year is 1931. She has no clue who she is or how she got there. She’s quickly placed with a foster family, and ends up becoming one of the first Black female journalists for the Los Angeles Times shortly after graduating high school. 

One thing leads to another, and Lou meets a firefighter that she’s sure she’s known before. She’s been sketching pictures of him, but has no clear recollection of him at first. On top of that, she’s had dreams of herself in other lifetimes…from all over the land. Can she really be an immortal?

I was extremely intrigued by the premise of this book, and I really enjoyed parts of it. Lou is smart and clear-headed, extremely likable, and such an interesting character as we read her thoughts. The beautiful and atmospheric writing, not to mention the short chapters, made it easy to glide through the story as I was eager to find out what was going on. 

However, my interest did waver on and off. We never really get to the main storyline until the last 20% or so. The book deals with tough and important topics and also discusses in great detail many historical events over the years. I appreciated that as I learned some new things to google that I hadn’t previously known about (and some I did know about). 

There are also varying timelines…some in the past and some in the future (if you’re reading it before 2117). While there were captivating moments, I couldn’t help but think the “immortality” thread took a back seat for most of it. I wish we could’ve delved more into that. Or I wish that plot was completely scrapped, and there was more focus on Lou living her life in the 1930’s.

The adjective, ambitious, has been used in some of the reviews I read. I wholeheartedly agree. It’s quite the story, told in an almost quiet and whimsical way…but it may have been just a bit too quiet for me. 

While I don’t know who I’d recommend this book to, I definitely think it’s worthy of an audience. I look forward to reading more from author Natashia Deón. I absolutely love the dedication:

For you. I did it for me.”

Available: 11/2/21. 

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