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I have to keep reacting to the essays in The Fire This Time.

Dear Kevin Young,

Thank you for adding a note of levity to an otherwise solemn, sad, and often angry collection. Not that you haven’t delivered a serious message about Rachel Dolezal and racial identity. But the “spoonful of sugar” makes it go down with less fuss. My favorite line: “Their Eyes Were Watching Oprah.”

I especially like your observation about each of us having something “not black.” My “people” mock me for reading Jane Austen, even as one likes the Eagles and another became a docent at a very white art museum. Austen is about as white as they come, yet she has an outsider’s view of her world, exposing the ugly stuff with scathing precision.

And thank you for giving me one more layer of understanding about what my relatives on the bayou had and have to contend with.

Can’t wait to read Unoriginal Sin.

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