bell hooks Urges Us To Return To Love

Reading All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks

“love’s in need of love today

don’t delay, send yours in right away…”

(Love’s In Need of Love Today, Stevie Wonder)

Neighbour, remember when Stevie and George did that back in 1985? This was the song that played in my head while reading bell hooks’s All About Love: New Visions.

The book is a call for love, in our personal lives and in society as a whole. Love is needed as the thread that runs through the garment we dress the world in. bell hooks lays out 13 chapters of how and why we should redefine love, where we learn how to love and be loved, the benefits of a society that runs on a fuel of love, and so much more.

My favourite chapter was on how childhood is the original school of love. She dives into the way the patterns of love in our childhood affect us as adults. She challenges the idea of placing abuse and love in the same room and explains how the two cannot co-exist.

It made me think of how some of us in our childhoods, getting a beating for punishment was a way our elders showed us they loved and cared, doing it to steer us in the right direction. hooks offers an alternative, a method of discipline that is loving in its nature.

She also discusses lying in its different forms and how it is used as a form of power, and that it falls outside of the practice of love. She encourages us to commit to living by a love ethic, detailing the benefits of doing so and how that can transform our lives for the good.

The book is packed with so many ways that love reaches into so many spaces of our lives, and how we do things that get in its way. She talks about community, forgiveness, racism, sexism, and how love can be such a transformative force.

With all that we witness around us, there were parts of the book that sounded like unreachable tasks, or rather things we can only hope for. However, hooks is confident that by making certain changes, we can return to love and in these thirteen chapters she tells us how we can love again.

Happy reading, Neighbour. 😊

The Beauty of Strong Female Relationships in Alice Walker’s ‘The Color Purple’

Celie narrates her life through letters to God, where she lays out her journey from her traumas to when she finds a sense of empowerment. As a young girl she is abused and raped by her father, and after giving birth twice her father takes away both babies and lets her believe they’ve been killed. She also loses her mother and when the widower, Albert, comes over to their house wanting to marry her younger sister Nettie, her father refuses and offers the “ugly” and uneducated Celie instead.

It is an abusive and unhappy marriage, where she spends all her time looking after Albert and his litter of children. Nettie stays with them for a little while but Albert’s interest in her causes her to flee, for so long that at some point Celie believes she’s dead.

Celie forms a bond with the woman her husband is in love with – Shug. There is also her step-son’s wife Sofia. As the story progresses, we see how the passive Celie learns how to assert herself and change the tone of her personal story. The friendship she has with these women become a good place of refuge, she finds ears that listen, voices that encourage and their presence and the bonds they share play a role in her growth and confidence.

The Color Purple is a significant and vital book which explores themes which have been and are still necessary to be heard. There is the strength of self-expression, language and how one can assert themselves, eventually freeing themselves through finding and using their voice. Race and oppression are also big themes of the story, as well as abuse and the distorted beliefs about relationships between men and women.

The form of letters to tell the story, along with the rural English Celie uses, help create a genuine narrator, one we can feel for and journey with. It’s an impressive book, keeps you turning its pages and has such a strong and powerful message to share.

The book was adapted into a film in 1985, starring Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah, Danny Glover, Desreta Jackson, Margaret Avery, and other incredible actors.

Review: Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank

“Although I’m only fourteen, I know quite well what I want, I know who is right and who is wrong.”

Hitler’s obsession with having a “pure” race lead to an unspeakable period of barbaric and brutal war against the Jews and other million others targeted for racial, ideological and political reasons. When he became Chancellor in 1933, he did not waste time in starting his anti-Jewish operation.

There was mass transportation to concentration camps where imprisonment, mass gassing, death from starvation and diseases, and other merciless crimes against humanity took place.

The years from 1942 to 1945 were a time when Jews from all over Europe were sent to these concentration camps and it is during these years that Anne Frank put down pen to paper to pour down her account of the time she spent in hiding with her family, another family of three and a friend.

Anne’s diary entries begin in June 1942, on her 13th birthday, about a month before they go into hiding. In July they go into hiding in a building where his father’s office is and here begins their two-year hiding.

Anne records the atmosphere in their dwelling, describing the environment itself, the food, the daily activities that are mostly reading and writing, and the rows that take place among them.

Below them, on the ground floor is a warehouse that is used during the day, and at that time they have to stay as quiet as possible to avoid getting caught. As grim and tragic as their circumstances are, Anne expresses hope and a positive outlook on life.

“I’ve found that there is always some beauty left — in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these can all help you.”

There are times when she writes about her pain, depression, crying herself to sleep but her writing still bursts with impressive wisdom, maturity, introspection, intelligence and wit.

Her diary shows her depth of feeling, things she doesn’t share with anyone else but feels so strongly about. Her opinions are strong and she has an independent mind, as well as a clear direction that she wishes to take after the war.

“I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death!”

There are many things to enjoy about this diary, especially Anne’s belief in freedom, despite the confines she and her family are in where freedom has been taken away from them.

She expresses a belief – freedom for people to live in peace and freedom of self. In the midst of fear of being discovered and taken away, she still shows courage and cheerfulness.

Her thirst for learning is unquenchable. She finds comfort in reading, learning and writing. In the depth of a miserable situation where the future is unpredictable and she has no idea about the other side of the war, she still commits to absorbing knowledge and creating.

“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”

I enjoyed The Diary of a Young Girl because of how it can shift one’s perspective on their own suffering and worries. It’s inspiring and informative in the way that it takes you into her contemplation of the war. It’s also a good read for people who are interested in history and war.

The last diary entry is on 1 August 1944 and shortly after an informer tells on the family. Their place is raided and they’re taken away. Anne died in 1945. Only her father survived and when he returned after the war, he found the diary kept by his office workers. Anne had wanted to become a writer and to publish the diary, and her father published it in her memory.

⭐⭐⭐⭐