By: Aryanne Ferguson
A little over 2 years ago, I read “Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self” by Danielle Evans. Here’s what I wrote about the short story collection back then:
Each story focuses on life as a young, usually female, African American in the early 2000s. The writing style/subject matter reminds me of Z.Z. Packer. I loved the gravity of the stories in this collection, and the themes which I both could and couldn’t identify with (ex. abortion, interracial dating, being the “smart” Black girl, having a white mom and a black dad). I wish I could write about these themes as candidly as Evans – I must have some living yet to do. I’d previously read her story “Virgins” in an anthology, but the other stories were new to me. Evans is a lady I’ll expect more from in the (I’m hoping) near future.
Back then, I also wrote my favorite quotes from the book. I’d like to share this one with you. The narrator is driving down the highway while her younger cousin sleeps in the seat beside her:
But I don’t wake Chrissie because she’s sleeping like a baby, and anyway, she isn’t a baby and she doesn’t need me to tell her what it is to watch somebody let you down by being human in the saddest and neediest ways, what it is to push at something that has long since given way. (pg182)
And last, a treat! Here’s a video of Evans speaking during a book talk in DC:
I definitely recommend adding this short story collection to your reading list! Reader, have you read any of Evans’s work?