It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza .
‘Told from alternating perspectives, an evocative and riveting novel about the lifelong bond between two women, one Black and one white, whose friendship is indelibly altered by a tragic event—a powerful and poignant exploration of race in America today and its devastating impact on ordinary lives.’
About the Author/s
Christine Pride is a writer, editor, and longtime publishing veteran. She’s held editorial posts at many different trade imprints, including Doubleday, Broadway, Crown, Hyperion, and Simon & Schuster. As an editor, Christine has published a range of books, with a special emphasis on inspirational stories and memoirs, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. As a freelance editorial consultant, she does select editing and proposal/content development, as well as teaching and coaching, and pens a regular column—“Race Matters”—for Cup of Jo. She lives in New York City. Follow @cpride on Twitter, Visit christinepride.com
Jo Piazza is an award-winning journalist, editor and podcast host. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Marie Claire, Glamour, and other notable publications. She is also the author of Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win, How to Be Married, The Knockoff, Fitness Junkie, and If Nuns Ruled the World. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two small children. Follow @JoPiazza on Twitter, Listen to under-the-influence-with-jo-piazza
About the book
Jen and Riley have been best friends since kindergarten. As adults, they remain as close as sisters, though their lives have taken different directions. Jen married young, and after years of trying, is finally pregnant. Riley pursued her childhood dream of becoming a television journalist and is poised to become one of the first Black female anchors of the top news channel in their hometown of Philadelphia.
But the deep bond they share is severely tested when Jen’s husband, a city police officer, is involved in the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. Six months pregnant, Jen is in freefall as her future, her husband’s freedom, and her friendship with Riley are thrown into uncertainty. Covering this career-making story, Riley wrestles with the implications of this tragic incident for her Black community, her ambitions, and her relationship with her lifelong friend.
Like Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage and Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things, We Are Not Like Them explores complex questions of race and how they pervade and shape our most intimate spaces in a deeply divided world. But at its heart, it’s a story of enduring friendship—a love that defies the odds even as it faces its most difficult challenges.
On the surface Riley and Jen are best friends – sisters from different families. Their incredible bond threatens to be severed when Jen’s husband is involved in shooting – the shooting of an unarmed young black teenager. As a journalist Riley finds herself in the middle of the incident, as a black woman she finds herself at the opposite side of the dispute – against her friend and her husband.
There is no doubt there is a disparity between white people and black people, which is influenced by a system built on colonialism, and the differences are driven by systemic racism in said system. There is a lack of comprehension by white people when it comes to understanding white privilege.
I understand why minorities, marginalised groups and black people find this frustrating and believe it isn’t their job to explain or help those who don’t understand why it is a privilege. The reality however is that without someone pointing out why it exists and how it influences lives, careers, academic paths, choices and every single situation – there will be no real change.
White mothers don’t have to teach their white children, but specifically boys and men, to act in a certain way in order to hopefully not generate a stereotypical response from the authorities and often the public in general. Don’t be furtive, listen and obey, don’t reach for your pockets or move quickly. All things a black mother will say to her son in an attempt to keep him safe, because the reality is the likelihood of a black male being racially profiled, stereotyped and singled out are outrageously high.
It’s a book and dialogue that is needed to move forward and change a system that isn’t equal – a worldview that is dismissed, ridiculed and rationalised by those on the longer end of the stick. An important exploration of a friendship that is based on one person submitting to the status quo and the other being completely unaware of what life is really like for her friend.
It’s definitely a book that will generate discussion, which is good. It’s also one I wouldn’t hesitate to buy for people who really need to read it.