REVIEW #76 | WHO DO YOU SERVE, WHO DO YOU PROTECT? ed. by Maya Schenwar, Joe Macaré, and Alana Yu-lan Price

Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? edited by Maya Schenwar, Joe Macaré, and Alana Yu-lan Price
Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?
Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? Police Violence and Resistance in the United States by Joe Macaré, Alana Yu-Lan Price, Alicia Garza, Maya Schenwar
Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? — Maya Schenwar, Joe Macaré, and Alana Yu-lan Price

Title: Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? Police Violence and Resistance in the United States

Editors: Maya Schenwar, Joe Macaré, and Alana Yu-lan Price

Pub. Date: 10 May 2016

Synopsis (via StoryGraph):

What is the reality of policing in the United States? Do the police keep anyone safe and secure other than the very wealthy? How do recent police killings of young black people in the United States fit into the historical and global context of anti-blackness?

This collection of reports and essays (the first collaboration between Truthout and Haymarket Books) explores police violence against black, brown, indigenous and other marginalized communities, miscarriages of justice, and failures of token accountability and reform measures. It also makes a compelling and provocative argument against calling the police.

Contributions cover a broad range of issues including the killing by police of black men and women, police violence against Latino and indigenous communities, law enforcement’s treatment of pregnant people and those with mental illness, and the impact of racist police violence on parenting, as well as specific stories such as a Detroit police conspiracy to slap murder convictions on young black men using police informant and the failure of Chicago’s much-touted Independent Police Review Authority, the body supposedly responsible for investigating police misconduct. The title Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?is no mere provocation: the book also explores alternatives for keeping communities safe.

Contributors include William C. Anderson, Candice Bernd, Aaron Cantú, Thandi Chimurenga, Ejeris Dixon, Adam Hudson, Victoria Law, Mike Ludwig, Sarah Macaraeg, and Roberto Rodriguez.

Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?

Trigger/Content warnings:

  • police brutality
  • mentions of torture/torture devices (both historically and currently)
  • racism (anti-Black, anti-Brown, and anti-Indigenous)
  • medical abuse/neglect

Representation:

  • a collection of essays about police brutality that centers Black women, LGBTQ+ folks, pregnant folks, indigenous folks, and migrants

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
5/5 stars

I was able to get an e-copy for free through the publisher Haymarket Books because they offered it for no charge sometime last May. As of the day this review is being written (7 January 2021), the eBook is still free! Here is the link to snag it (even if it isn’t free, I would still recommend buying it regardless!). Anyway, it was something I was interested in, and who doesn’t like free books? So here I am.

Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? is a collection of essays surrounding police brutality, its impact against marginalized communities (especially Black folks), its connections to imperialism, and how to combat it and be less dependent upon police. While most of what was written I already knew about or wasn’t a surprise to me personally, I know that it’ll help educate and inform many other readers who may be in a different place in their learning. I could tell, throughout every single essay, how angry these writers were about police brutality and the system it upholds. But I could also tell how much these contributors love and care for their communities and wish to see them thrive. I can only hope that this book can motivate and/or radicalize folks in order to make that happen.

There was an essay that did bring up some new ideas for me, and that was the one that focused on pregnant people in prison/under arrest: “Your Pregnancy May Subject You to Even More Law Enforcement Violence” by Victoria Law. While none of what was written was particularly surprising — I’m not shocked that prison guards often ignore pregnant people’s concerns until it’s too late, for instance — it brought a new lens to my understanding of police brutality. While theoretically, it makes sense that pregnant people would be at risk of violence, I didn’t consciously think about it until I read that essay. And it isn’t only pregnant folks — anyone who needs regular medical attention or medicine is often looked over by guards and cops. It just adds another layer to one’s understanding of how heinous police brutality and the prison system are.

On top of that, I really appreciated the second half of the book, which focuses on helping one’s community without police input. I thought many of those essays were enlightening, especially one that delved into how community members and EMS could serve the community better without the police butting in and escalating things like they often do. I found myself feeling hopeful for the future, knowing that there is a history of becoming less dependent upon police. I’ll be excited to see what community organizers can do on this front in the future.

Overall, I thought Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? is a wonderful, knowledgeable book and everyone should pick it up if they’re at all interested in learning about police brutality and what we can do to minimize our dependence on the cops. Again, here is the link so you can get a free e-copy (if they still offer it for free by the time you get around to reading this review, lol).

To end this review, here is something new I want to try with reviews from now on: a few quotes that I like from the book! I know a lot of reviewers splash them throughout the review, but I’m way too indecisive for that, so y’all get a block at the end, lol. Enjoy, and I hope you liked this review! Let me know your thoughts by commenting below 😊

(also, quick note, there’s only three quotes because this new thing was a split-second decision made right before I scheduled this post, lmao. but expect more in other reviews in the future!)

Fav Quotes ✨

When cops bully them, scare them, fuck with them, it’s because our children aren’t seen as part of the future. Our children are disposable.

Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?

If we seek to dismantle the police state, we must also dismantle the military.

Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?

Self-preservation of the state is the primary priority.

Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?
Kait | sixcrowsbooks
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REVIEW #73 | NON-BINARY LIVES by Jos Twist, Ben Vincent, Meg-John Barker, & Kat Gupta

Title: Non-Binary Lives: An Anthology of Intersecting Identities

Editors: Jos Twist, Ben Vincent, Meg-John Barker, & Kat Gupta

Pub. Date: 21 April 2020

Synopsis:

What does it mean to be non-binary in the 21st Century?

Our gender identity is impacted by our personal histories; the cultures, communities and countries we are born into; and the places we go and the people we meet. But the representation of contemporary non-binary identities has been limited, until now.

Pushing the narrative around non-binary identities further than ever before, this powerful collection of essays represents the breadth of non-binary lives, across the boundaries of race, class, age, sexuality, faith and more.

Leading non-binary people share stories of their intersecting lives; how it feels to be non-binary and neurodiverse, the challenges of being a non-binary pregnant person, what it means to be non-binary within the Quaker community, the joy of reaching gender euphoria.

This thought-provoking anthology shows that there is no right or wrong way to be non-binary.

Trigger/Content warnings:

  • misgendering
  • ableism
  • transphobia

Representation:

  • an anthology that explores being non-binary and how it interacts with other parts of the authors’ identities (religion, ethnicity, race, disability, etc.)

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
5/5 stars

*I received an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I have been staring at my screen trying to figure out how to put my feelings into words, and. I don’t think I can do them justice. But I’ll try my best.

Non-Binary Lives is a collection of essays from various non-binary folks from mostly the UK, but other parts of the world as well. In these essays, they describe their experiences with being non-binary, especially with how it interacts with other parts of their identity and culture. While there could be some overlap between themes, each essay had a distinct feel to it as each author discussed their own lived experiences.

I truly do not know where to start with this essay collection. This book made me feel seen in a way no other book has. There were so many authors whose experiences did not match up perfectly to mine (basically all of them, let’s be honest), but they still felt and thought things about their non-binary gender that I have, and I have such a softness in my heart right now. For transparency’s sake, I just finished the book an hour ago, and I’m trying to write the review now because if I don’t, I don’t think I ever will. If I can’t write anything down now, I don’t think there will ever be an opportunity for me to write about how this book settled into my heart, into my being, like very few books have before.

And that’s what Non-Binary Lives has done: taken up space in my heart and settled in for the long haul. To read an entire anthology about people who share an identity with you is incredibly freeing and validating, and reading it made me incredibly soft. Just thinking about buying a physical copy (…whilst on a spending ban, lmao) is making me tear up.

If that weren’t enough, I just learned so much about different things? There was an essay with two twins who were born and raised in Malta, and I learned a little bit about the country and its politics. I learned about being a Quaker from another essay, whose author is a Quaker. I learned from a number of the contributors about how, in different ways, their counseling practice is affected by their gender.

That last point — about counseling? — yeah, I want to expand on that. Not only do I feel validated because of my gender, but I also feel validated because of the surprisingly large number of counselors that contributed to the anthology. For those of you that don’t know, I am a graduate student studying clinical mental health counseling. I want to become a counselor, and I eventually want to work with the LGBTQ+ community specifically. However, before this, I wasn’t really sure what I would do or how I would go about doing it to begin with. I was worried it was too niche, and that I would have to “settle” on doing something else that would still be fulfilling, just not as much.

Those counselors that spoke about their practices? They helped with that. Even though they work in England, I felt validated and that there is space in the mental health profession for my passion and work. It has motivated me to reach out to a faculty member at my school that does similar work and ask about resources and tips. And at the end of the day? It made me feel seen as a genderqueer future counselor. It has given me hope about what my future will bring.

I literally have nothing else of substance to add to this review unless y’all want incoherent screaming, so to end this, I want to give you a few quotes that have struck a cord with me.

What does it mean to “pass”? To “pass” places the burden of intelligibility on the person who seeks to “pass”: if we are not interpreted correctly, it is because we have failed to make our meaning clear. I reject that. I reject that there is one meaning that we can make of our bodies. I reject that we have such a degree of control over the ways in which people interpret us. I reject the implication that failure to be read — failure to be seen — is our fault. Instead, all we can offer is ourselves.

Non-Binary Lives

It is both terrifying and exciting, like plunging into a swirling galaxy of other lives, an array of lives not your own but which you temporarily inhabit. Like trying on new clothes, like acting a part, like conducting some kind of grand social experiment in perception. Which “I” am I today? It is both freedom and recklessness and danger and love, love, love for every life you could have led.

Non-Binary Lives

We cannot think of gender as a linear concept with masculinity and femininity as opposing poles. Instead, I think we can conceive of gender as a galaxy, with each person determining their own location at any given time. This galaxy is home to planets and comets and shuttles and stations. Some of us will never leave our home planets, some of us will never be home, and some of us will take off and go into orbit for a while and then land again.

Non-Binary Lives

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REVIEW #61 | THEY/THEM/THEIR by Eris Young (eARC)

Title: They/Them/Their

Author: Eris Young

Series or Standalone?: Standalone

Publishing Date: 19 September 2019

Synopsis (Goodreads:

“Chosen as one of The List’s Hot 100 in 2019.

“In this insightful and long-overdue book, Eris Young explores what it’s like to live outside of the gender binary and how it can impact on one’s relationships, sense of identity, use of language and more.

“Drawing on the author’s own experiences as a nonbinary person, as well as interviews and research, it shares common experiences and challenges faced by those who are nonbinary, and what friends, family and other cisgender people can do to support them. Breaking down misconceptions and providing definitions, the history of nonbinary identities and gender-neutral language, and information on healthcare, this much-needed guide is for anyone wanting to fully understand nonbinary and genderqueer identities.”

Trigger/Content warnings:

  • N/A

Representation:

  • non-fiction about non-binary and genderqueer genders

⭐⭐⭐ .5
3.5/5 stars

DNF @ 50%

*I have received an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

I really appreciate what They/Them/Their is doing, but personally, it fell a little bit short. But it wasn’t because of the content itself!

They/Them/Their is a non-fiction novel by Eris Young. It is all about non-binary genders: the history behind them, the community aspect, where we are today. It included a number of interviews with non-binary people, including those who are genderqueer, genderfluid, and more, as well as a general overview of what non-binary genders are. Put shortly, They/Them/Their, while not attempting to be all-encompassing, is meant to be a good starter for those who want to learn more about genders that are outside the binary of man and woman.

I was really excited to start this book! I have recently come to the realization that I am genderqueer, so I was itching to see myself and others similar to me in a non-fiction book. And for the most part? I enjoyed the half of the book that I read. It isn’t horrible by any means; on the contrary, I thought it quite interesting. However, what really killed it for me was the way in which it was written. The book, to me, is written in a very dry format, where it sounds more like an article out of an academic journal. There’s nothing wrong with that in particular — I love a good article as much as the next person! — but a whole book of it soon enough became too tiring for me, and that’s why I DNF’d halfway through. I think if it was written in a more narrative style, it would be a more digestible read for people who may not be used to that sort of writing.

Again, the content itself is still interesting, and I think I’ll go back and read a chapter here and there in the future. But in terms of easy reading? I think it could do better, personally.

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REVIEW #49 | “Brave Face” by Shaun David Hutchinson

Title: “Brave Face”

Author: Shaun David Hutchinson

Pages (hardcover): 368 pages

Original Publishing Date: 21 May 2019

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“Critically acclaimed author of We Are the Ants—described as having “hints of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five” (School Library Journal)—opens up about what led to an attempted suicide in his teens, and his path back from the experience.

“‘I wasn’t depressed because I was gay. I was depressed and gay.’

“Shaun David Hutchinson was nineteen. Confused. Struggling to find the vocabulary to understand and accept who he was and how he fit into a community in which he couldn’t see himself. The voice of depression told him that he would never be loved or wanted, while powerful and hurtful messages from society told him that being gay meant love and happiness weren’t for him.

“A million moments large and small over the years all came together to convince Shaun that he couldn’t keep going, that he had no future. And so he followed through on trying to make that a reality.

“Thankfully Shaun survived, and over time, came to embrace how grateful he is and how to find self-acceptance. In this courageous and deeply honest memoir, Shaun takes readers through the journey of what brought him to the edge, and what has helped him truly believe that it does get better.”

Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:

  • suicidal ideation
  • attempted suicide
  • self-harm
  • sexual assault
  • internalized homophobia
  • self-hate

Representation in the novel:

  • memoir of a gay/queer man

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
5/5 stars

I knew going into this book that it was going to be a tough read emotionally, but shit, I didn’t think I was going to get my heart ripped out (okay, maybe I did and just wanted to believe otherwise). Brave Face is many things: powerful, dark, sad, and at the end of everything, hopeful.

Before I get into much more, I want to thank Shaun and/or the publisher/editor. Right before the first chapter is a list of content/trigger warnings for the novel, along with resources for those going through similar things described in the memoir. Along with that, Shaun also has two chapters outlining certain warnings: the first is the opening chapter, talking about general warnings, and the second is near the end, warning about the description of a suicide attempt. I really appreciate the care that went into the making of this to make sure readers are as safe as possible as they read.

I’ve sat on this review for so long because I just…don’t know what to write? How do you write a review for a book that ripped your soul from your body, but in a good way? How do you write about a book that’s so incredibly raw that it hurts to read, but you absolutely have to keep going because, damn, this is real. Just…how? I still don’t know . But I’m going to try my best.

Brave Face is a memoir following Shaun David Hutchinson through his young adult life, highlighting his relationship between himself and being gay/queer, along with his depression. Amongst other things, it’s about being a young gay/queer man in the ’90s with little to no positive representation and a whole lot of internalized homophobia and self-hatred.

I flew through this book so quickly — the narrative just seemed to flow seamlessly. While a lot was heavy to read and I teared up a few times, there were also quite a few funny parts that I laughed outloud at. Most importantly (to me, at least), I felt for Hutchinson. Yes, he was a bit of an ass when he was younger; he even says so himself. But damn, the shit he goes through? And the self-hatred he experiences? It’s a lot.

I do want to point out that it is probably best to read this when in a good (or relatively better) mental state. There’s some graphic/plain-spoken scenes regarding self-harm, suicide, and depression, and I can imagine it has the potential to harm someone if they are in a vulnerable place mentally. Or maybe it’d help to see that others have experienced similar things. I don’t know. But I just wanted to make it all clear, just in case.

And with that, I want to end this review with one of my favorite quotes from the book, to show that there can be a bit of hope: “The problem had never been that I didn’t know who I was; it was that I’d assumed who I was wasn’t good enough. But he was. I was. And you are, too.”

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REVIEW #34 | “Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter” by Adeline Yen Mah

Title: “Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter”

Author: Adeline Yen Mah

Pages (paperback): 278 pages

Original Publishing Date: 5 March 1997

Synopsis (from the inside flap):

“Born in 1937 in a port city a thousand miles north of Shanghai, Adeline Yen Mah was the youngest child of an affluent Chinese family who enjoyed rare privileges during a time of political and cultural upheaval. But wealth and position could not shield Adeline from a childhood of appalling emotional abuse at the hands of a cruel and manipulative Eurasian stepmother. Determined to survive through her enduring faith in family unity, Adeline struggled for independence as she moved from Hong Kong to England and eventually to the United States to become a physician and writer.

“A compelling, painful, and ultimately triumphant story of a girl’s journey into adulthood, Adeline’s story is a testament to the most basic of human needs: acceptance, love, and understanding. With a powerful voice that speaks of the harsh realities of growing up female in a family and society that kept girls in emotional chains, Falling Leaves is a work of heartfelt intimacy and a rare authentic portrait of twentieth-century China.”

Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:

  • child abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • physical abuse
  • mention of child slavery/sex slavery

Representation in the novel:

  • N/A

⭐⭐⭐⭐ .5
4.5/5 stars

I remember buying Falling Leaves at Target a few years ago; it was definitely an impulse buy. I just now got to it, and wow it was something.

Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah is exactly what it sounds like. It is about Adeline Yen Mah and her family, from before she was born to when she is in her 30s. She goes into detail about her family and how most of them treated her horribly, even as adults. On top of that, parts of Chinese culture during the 30s and 40s were also discussed as it related to Yen Mah and her family. That was pretty interesting to learn about, I must say.

This book is something that one is uncomfortable with liking; well, I was uncomfortable, at least. The writing itself is very good: I flew through the book in a matter of days. The use of narrative is so good for this memoir; the reader really gets sucked into the stories. And that is really what it is: a number of small stories throughout the overarching novel. Each chapter title is some sort of saying in Chinese translated to English, and the events in the chapter correlate to the saying. I really enjoyed the format of the book.

However, it makes me uncomfortable liking it because of some of the content within the book. It includes accounts of physical abuse, domestic violence, and emotional abuse. And this is not necessarily a book with a happy ending, either. I had to stop quite a few times because of certain scenes and how cruel the stepmother and others could be, not only to Adeline, but the whole family.

Overall, though, this was both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Adeline has lived a hard life, with many unloving people in her life. However, there are also a few people, either family like her Aunt Baba or partners like Bob, that have shown her love and compassion. I thought “Falling Leaves” was beautifully written, and if you can, I would urge everyone to read it.

MONTHLY TBR #9 | December 2018 TBR

Hi, everyone! So for my TBR, I usually just pick a bit of whatever sounds good and make a list out of it. But for December, I tried something different: I allowed the denizens of Twitter to choose my TBR through polls! Although, I do have to say, there were a few books I knew for certain I was going to read no matter what. If you want to look through the thread for yourself, here’s the link! To make it extra fun, I created categories for the polls, as you will soon see. Most of them are self-explanatory, but the last one, “Set in Stone,” is for the few books that I know I’ll read.

Now, let’s get into it!


Storm Front by Jim Butcher

VS.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

It…wasn’t very close at all. Out of 23 votes, 87% were for A Darker Shade of Magic and 13% for Storm Front.

Continue reading “MONTHLY TBR #9 | December 2018 TBR”

BOOK TAG #7 | Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag

Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag.png

I know a lot of bloggers/Booktubers do this tag, but I decided to do after seeing LaRonda @ Flying Paperbacks do it. Looks like a cute lil thing, and I finally got around to it!


1. Best book you’ve read this year?

I read a lot of different genres, including fiction and non-fiction, so I’ll do one fiction book and one non-fiction book.

Missoula

For non-fiction, I really enjoyed Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer. I loved reading it and getting angry over all the shitty things the authorities did. But I’m petty like that.

Review

Crooked Kingdom

There are a lot of fiction books I loved so far this year, but I’ll have to say Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo was my favorite. I thought it tied everything up nicely, and I enjoyed the plot and character development as I read. Also, fun fact, apparently Bardugo has a long-term plan, which includes another Six of Crows book?? I’m in.

Review

Continue reading “BOOK TAG #7 | Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag”

MONTHLY WRAP-UP #4 | June 2018

June Wrap-Up.png

Time needs to stop because I can’t deal with how fast the year’s going. Anywhere, here’s a quick look at what I read this past month of June!

1. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones v2

⭐⭐⭐
3/5 stars

Review

I didn’t really have high expectations for this book, but it was fun. The characters were kinda bland, and the plot was “meh”, but it was a fun enough book if all you were looking for was a fun, easy read.

Continue reading “MONTHLY WRAP-UP #4 | June 2018”

REVIEW #14 | “Everyday Sexism”

Everyday Sexism.png

Everyday Sexism

Title: “Everyday Sexism”

Author: Laura Bates

Pages (paperback): 416 pages

Original Publishing Date: 1 May 2014

Synopsis (from the hardcover’s Goodreads page):

“Women are standing up and #shoutingback. In a culture that’s driven by social media, for the first time women are using this online space (@EverydaySexism http://www.everydaysexism.com) to come together, share their stories and encourage a new generation to recognise the problems that women face. This book is a call to arms in a new wave of feminism and it proves sexism is endemic – socially, politically and economically. But women won’t stand for it. The Everyday Sexism Project is grounded in reality; packed with substance, validity and integrity it shows that women will no longer tolerate a society that ignores the dangers and endless effects of sexism.

“In 2012 after being sexually harassed on London public transport Laura Bates, a young journalist, started a project called Everyday Sexism to collect stories for a piece she was writing on the issue. Astounded by the response she received and the wide range of stories that came pouring in from all over the world, she quickly realised that the situation was far worse than she’d initially thought. Enough was enough. From being leered at and wolf-whistled on the street, to aggravation in the work place and serious sexual assault, it was clear that sexism had been normalised. Bates decided it was time for change.

“This bold, jaunty and ultimately intelligent book is the first to give a collective online voice to the protest against sexism. This game changing book is a juggernaut of stories, often shocking, sometimes amusing and always poignant – it is a must read for every inquisitive, no-nonsense modern woman.”

Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:

  • rape
  • incest
  • sexual harassment and assault
  • domestic violence
  • eating disorders
  • racism
  • homomisia
  • transmisia
  • cisnormativity
  • cissexism

Representation in the novel:

  • N/A

⭐⭐ .5
2.5/5 stars

Continue reading “REVIEW #14 | “Everyday Sexism””

REVIEW #11 | “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Title: “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”

Author: Maya Angelou

Pages (paperback): 289 pages

Original Publishing Date: 1969

Synopsis (from the back cover):

“Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.

“Sent by their mother to live with their devout grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother endure the ache of abandonment and prejudice. At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age — and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned. Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.”

Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:

  • child rape
  • physical child abuse
  • racism

Representation in the novel:

  • N/A

⭐⭐⭐⭐
4/5 stars

Continue reading “REVIEW #11 | “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings””