BOOK STEW REVIEW: ‘Stories From The Tenants Downstairs’ by Sidik Fofana

Below is the latest Book Stew Review from Eileen MacDougall, host of the long-running Book Stew, a video and podcast devoted to writing in all forms, authors, playwrights, and even a cat who survived a tornado and wrote a book about it.

Stories From The Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana

“Everybody got a story/Everybody got a tale/Question is: Is it despair or prevail?”

This amazing deck of eight interconnected stories comes from the hearts and vernacular of the residents of a soon-to-be-gentrified building in Harlem. They’re struggling in Harlem. They’re struggling with emotional and financial issues while fending off eviction notices.

The core is a group of middle school students and their paraprofessional, who not only has to deal with behavioral issues, but also with a Harvard grad first year teacher who reeks of privilege and who makes everything worse.

The theme is the brevity of triumphs and the heaviness of discouraging outcomes. This is a very memorable collection, highly recommended, comparable to Deesha Philyaw’s The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.

Each story is so touchable and real and tragic.

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