I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger than reason. I am so thirsty for the marvellous that only the marvellous has power over me. Anything I cannot transform into something marvellous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.

– Anaïs Nin



One of the most informative and engaging autobiographies I have ever read, the life of Assata Shakur (JoAnne Chesimard) is filled with pain, loss, heartbreak, struggle, hope, love, and finally – triumph.

Whether or not you believe every detail of the book as recounted by Assata; Whether or not you believe in the institutional and governmental corruption she tries to shed light on; Whether or not you believe she killed that State Trooper on a turnpike in New Jersey in 1973; This book primarily and eloquently details the fears, perils, and dangers of being a strong, educated, and politically aware black woman in 20th century U.S.A.

“Before you can break out of prison, you must first realise you’re locked up.”

The structure of the book as well as Assata’s simple and frank style of writing is so compelling and relatable that it will suit all audiences. Interestingly, the story is not laid out in a linear format but rather jumps from [firstly] that night on the turnpike in May 1973, then back and forth between her childhood and the events directly after the shootout in New Jersey; Eventually all of these experiences zig-zagging between the now and the then are connected in the middle, allowing us to piece together all of the clues she has shared about her life thus far which culminated to create the woman whose words we are absorbing today.

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