Over the past week, I’ve been asked by friends and readers whether I have any resources about widowhood and race. So today’s post is about two books I highly recommend: Black Widow, by Leslie Streeter and From Scratch, by Tembi Locke.
In Black Widow, Leslie Streeter tells the story of the sudden death of her husband and the events that followed. But that’s not the whole book. In fact, she goes back to recount her early love story with her husband – one that was complicated by race and religion. One of the reasons I love her book so much is that she talks about so many difficult issues (where do bury your Jewish husband, if you are Christian and want to be buried with him someday?) but does it with great warmth and humor. Also, she’s a terrific follow on Twitter.
From Scratch was given to me by my friend Kumar, and it did not disappoint. In it, Tembi Locke describes what it was like to meet the man who would become her husband, and the difficulties they faced coming from different countries, races and languages. His years-long cancer battle brought her closer to his Sicilian family, something that continued after his death. From Scratch is being made into a Netflix series too, so watch out for that release date.
This is clearly not an exhaustive list or even the best possible books to read on race and widowhood. But both books are about loss, grief, racism and the difficult things the authors faced in their lives. Both books are also about how we understand each other, and can be a starting place for readers to think about healing of all kinds.