“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”
– James Baldwin
When it comes to curating each My Lit Box, sometimes ideas jump out at me and the task is easy, other times I have to sit with the book until something comes to mind. But after finishing Speak No Evil, nothing came to me instantly. I didn’t want to trivialize a story like Speak No Evil so I knew I couldn’t add just anything to the boxes.
Niru is a high achieving high school senior, who runs track and lives in his brother’s shadow. He’s a son, an athlete, a best friend. He’s a young man discovering his sexuality in a Nigerian household that views his sexuality as an “abomination.” In spite of this, Niru attempts to explore the possibility of dating as a gay man while being the dutiful son.
I couldn’t think of anything that would properly reflect this story and its themes. But then the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL happened and I thought about the students who died, all between the ages of 14-18, the same age a Niru. Students who just like him were preparing for their futures suddenly were being prepared to be buried.
When I think about teenagers and what those years should be like, I feel as if they should be fun, vibrant, and exciting like these bookmarks from Cat Snapp Studio. The colors and patterns literally made me smile and I hope the bookmark in your box incites a similar response.
Your teenage years are for figuring things out. What you like, what you don’t like, what you’re good at. This card from Obvious State bears a line from Langston Hughes poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.” Do you know how old Langston Hughes was when he wrote this poem? Seventeen.
My heart breaks whenever I see someone’s adolescence interrupted by things no young person should be concerned with. This enamel pin from Icey Designs bears a piece of advice that can be carried from childhood to adulthood, live wondrously. Find whatever it is that brings you joy and immerse yourself in it.
Speak No Evil reminded me to not underestimate what young people have to deal with. It’s not all hobbies, homework, and school dances. Their burdens are no easier to bear than an adult’s and Niru’s experience serves as a reminder.
Forgive the morose tone of this post. Although Speak No Evil is a work of fiction, it’s story undoubtedly reflects real lives and I hope this month’s box, the book and all that’s included, coupled with recent headlines reminds us all to be a little kinder to children and do more to protect children and to just let them live wondrously.
Until next time.
Sanura is the laugh out loud, solo traveling, book-loving, owner and founder of My Lit Box. When she’s not reading, you’ll find her planning her next adventure. You can follow Sanura’s latest reads and travel on Twitter & Instagram.