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We’re here for R. Eric Thomas’ sense of humor

We're here for R. Eric Thomas' sense of humor
Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America; Essays

During a time when the entire internet projects “stuffy news correspondent” vibes, it is refreshing to find a voice that does not take itself too seriously. A staff writer for Elle’s humor column, “Eric Reads the News,” R. Eric Thomas uses amusing comedy to color commentate his new memoir, Here For It: Or How to Save Your Soul in America.

Here For It reads as if you and your favorite friend are giggling and snickering in the back of the church. Thomas talks openly about the landmine of being too black around white people, yet not black enough around black people. The situation creates an intricate dance that imparts to the reader the importance of standing firm in your truth.

Thomas’s wit makes the most awkward situations comical, like the first time he goes to a salon to get a “burning sensation” perm, or the time he wrote an article he believed to be satirical for his college newspaper. But the well-intended article instead caused extreme racial tension across the campus.  Readers will find themselves laughing out loud at his “split-second reparations.” For example: you are at a racially mixed birthday party and the white partygoers start singing the traditional rendition of the “Happy Birthday” song and the black folk start singing the Steve Wonder version, and for a moment the white guests “think they’ve slipped into an alternate universe and they are questioning everything they know to be true.”

The helplessly optimistic title essay is particularly captivating. Thomas, who throughout the book attempts to circumnavigate the emotions of religion’s conflicts with homosexuality, writes lovingly about his walk down the aisle. He married into the Presbyterian church. His husband, Rev. Dr. Ken Evers-Hoods is a minister.  Together, the two are creating their own religion centered in love and we are here for it.

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