Mini Review: “The Benefits of Eating White Folks” by Leslie T. Grover

Release Date: April 5, 2022
Publisher: Jaded Ibis Press, LLC
Genre: Historical Fiction

Description

The Sickness, a disease with unknown origins, is killing white children in the antebellum South, but Perpetua, a Black enslaved woman, is facing something much more devastating: Her daughter Meenie is missing. What she finds in her search for her child will change her life forever.

By fusing the past and present with the power of prose and poetry, Leslie T. Grover poignantly explores the ripple effect of history and the nature of love and family and the ties that bind.

My Thoughts

Writing a review for a book like The Benefits of Eating White Folks is challenging. It’s speculative historical fiction, which I usually enjoy, but is also intensely heavy, brutal, and with a lot of body horror, which I usually do not enjoy. Although this book wasn’t for me personally, I appreciated how Leslie T. Grover did not pull her punches or offer easy answers. She goes in hard, forcing the reader to face the horrors of slavery and the future ramifications without flinching. Interspersed with poetry and art, the novel is creative in a way you only really see being published by small presses willing to take risks and break tradition.

My only real issue is that the title, cover, and cover copy suggest a different book than what Grover has actually written. I went in expecting historical science fiction with a mystery twist, and the book is not really that. The cover, while visually appealing, also doesn’t quite get the tone or content across very well. 

If you’re looking for something visceral, experimental, historical, poetic, and creative, The Benefits of Eating White Folks is worth checking out.

Buy it at Bookshop.org (affiliate link)

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