Tag Archives: The Beautiful Struggle: A Memoir

The Beautiful Struggle: A Memoir by Ta-Nehisi Coates Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Author Ta-Nehisi Coates takes readers on a personal story of growing up with a tough-love father, his relationship with his mother, and the trials he would face, including racism, girl troubles, and so much more in the YA adaption of his memoir, “The Beautiful Struggle”. 


The Synopsis

Adapted from the adult memoir by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Water Dancer and Between the World and Me, this father-son story explores how boys become men, and quite specifically, how Ta-Nehisi Coates became Ta-Nehisi Coates.

As a child, Ta-Nehisi Coates was seen by his father, Paul, as too sensitive and lacking focus. Paul Coates was a Vietnam vet who’d been part of the Black Panthers and was dedicated to reading and publishing the history of African civilization. When it came to his sons, he was committed to raising proud Black men equipped to deal with a racist society, during a turbulent period in the collapsing city of Baltimore where they lived.

Coates details with candor the challenges of dealing with his tough-love father, the influence of his mother, and the dynamics of his extended family, including his brother “Big Bill,” who was on a very different path than Ta-Nehisi. Coates also tells of his family struggles at school and with girls, making this a timely story to which many readers will relate.

The Review

I found the author’s work to be so passionate and moving. The intimate way the author delved into his personal experiences and his life as a whole was in one breath very relatable, and in another breath very eye-opening, as he brought a truly unique perspective of what life was like as both a young black man and as the son of a Vietnam vet and Black Panther during a very turbulent time in our world’s history. The imagery and tone the author struck really brought the experiences the author delved into to life in a vivid way.

The author’s ability to translate this very adult memoir into a teachable lesson for younger readers, primarily YA readers, was amazing to read. The history and culture of that era and the hardships the author endured on both a cultural and personal level are things younger generations can definitely learn from. The personal struggles of his home life and his childhood will resonate with so many readers out there, and the artistry that has defined the author’s life and career is felt in every chapter.

The Verdict

Engaging, atmospheric, and beautifully written, author Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “The Beautiful Struggle: A Memoir” is a must-read nonfiction meets YA book. The contrast of struggle versus hope is a powerful theme that is felt throughout this reading, and readers will be able to find both important lessons on culture and history while also relating to the author’s life in one way or another. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Between the World and Me, a finalist for the National Book Award. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” fellow, Coates has received the National Magazine Award, the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, and the George Polk Award for his Atlantic cover story “The Case for Reparations.” He lives in New York with his wife and son.