Release date : 21st January 2020
Publisher : Tordotcom
Blurb: Rooted in foundational loss and the hope that can live in anger, Riot Baby is both a global dystopian narrative an intimate family story with quietly devastating things to say about love, fury, and the black American experience.
Ella and Kev are brother and sister, both gifted with extraordinary power. Their childhoods are defined and destroyed by structural racism and brutality. Their futures might alter the world. When Kev is incarcerated for the crime of being a young black man in America, Ella—through visits both mundane and supernatural—tries to show him the way to a revolution that could burn it all down.
So this is going to be a short one because, honestly, you need to read it for yourself to get a feel for just how important a novella it is in today’s society. Its ahead of its time but also incredibly timely for the current political climate.
Riot Baby is the type of novel that you wonder how its all going to come together and then suddenly at the end it all makes sense. Its a tale of hardship, sorrow, familial bonds and found family. Underlying (and blatantly stated) themes include those of systemic racism, police brutality, slavery and wanton abuse.
With a lot of novellas, I get a sense that portions were skipped in order to come under that all important word limit. With Riot Baby, everything feels vast and expansive, especially when things are considered from Ella’s POV.
My main qualm with this was attempting to wrap my head around the continuously changing time line and point of view. After a while it seemed like each break would swap POV but then, i was proved wrong.
If you are after a novella with a purpose, that purpose being to shine a light on the criminal justice system, and occasionally society in generals, treatment of non-white citizens, this is it. If you’re after a novella that deals with abuse, racism and discrimination, this is it. If you want a happy tale where everyone could be a resident of Stepford, maybe give it a miss.
Until next time lovelies xo