Updated: Jan 30, 2020
AUTHOR: Patricia Williams
PUBLISHER: Dey Street Books
PUBLISHED DATE: August 22, 2017
I kept seeing this book on my Goodreads timeline. Since the people I follow on Goodreads have excellent taste in books, I decided to read this one, and it did not disappoint.
Rabbit is the story of Patricia Williams, a comedian most famous for her appearances on BET's Comic View and NBC's Last Comic Standing, among other prominent comedy shows and stand up venues. Ms. Pat has used the traumatic experiences of her life to completely feng-shui her life.
Raised in the most indigent sections of Atlanta, Ms. Pat was raised my an alcoholic mother of 5 children. When young Patricia's grandfather was arrested at 8, her life, already chaotic, became a sequence of instability and trauma. By 13, Pat was pregnant by a married pedophile, and by 15, she was an unwed mother with two daughters - scheming and trapping to get by. During the height of the crack epidemic, Williams was shot twice, selling crack out of a diaper bag, and ultimately incarcerated. During all of this, it was the words of her 3rd grade teacher, a fly "bad bitch" who wore "bad ass boots" who told Patricia she could be anything if she would just dream. While in jail, Patricia dreamed of living a crime-free life and pursuing a goal of completing her education. The pedophile who fathered her two children convinced her that she was worthless, and was better off trapping. So she returned to selling drugs, a life which put food on the table and paid her bills. It wasn't until a new man came into life that Patricia decided to stop selling drugs and attend a for-profit school with the hopes that she would be able to find gainful employment and turn her life around. After going to an interview, and realizing that her criminal rap-sheet and felony conviction made her unemployable, she regretted the large student loans she had taken out in pursuit of her education. Back at square one, she returned to the welfare office, and while making jest of her situation, her welfare officer encouraged her to pursue comedy, and well...the rest is history.
I found this to be a deeply honest and redeeming novel. The most touching part of this book is near the end when she describes the nurturing and compassionate mothering she does not just for own children, but for her nieces she took due to her sister's drug abuse. It takes a lot of healing to give what you didn't get, and Ms. Pat's mother is up there as one of the most evil mothers in literature...right up there with Mary Jackson in Push. The book tries to be funny, and in parts it is...but for most of the novel it is relentlessly sad. Don't be fooled though...this is a very inspiring novel about staying positive and overcoming even the most negative of circumstances.
Recommendation: Read it! Very gritty novel, but the end is so worth it, and the message about showing love to people who need it is always necessary.
Audience: Millennials and Beyond