Rating: 3 Stars
Headline: A good read for anyone wanting to better understand a minority subsection of American society
Another World is the autobiographical memoir by Maximillian Matthews, covering his life growing up in North Carolina and forging a professional career during the late noughties. Self-identifying as black queer, Matthews’ memoir aims to provide readers from the same community with the type of material that does not readily exist on accessible bookshelves.
From growing up in North Carolina, to living and working in Boston and Washington DC, Matthews draws on various colourful experiences to convey the highs and lows of integrating himself into both the LGBTQ+ community and broadly within American society. The way Matthews recounts the key drivers behind his actions makes for some touching moments in the book, particularly in scenes where he acknowledges some of the harmful actions and behaviours self-inflicted in the pursuit of acceptance and love.
Good for bringing out some of the general themes around systematic racism and homophobia in America, Another World does tend to lose focus, in places pulling on quotes from external sources to draw in entirely separate debates. In one instance the dramatic retelling of a traumatic break-up is punctured by a tangent on the politics of attraction. Such tangents are all of insightful importance, but their placement sometimes does Matthews’ life experiences a disservice.
The flow of Another World also comes across as a bit hap-hazard. Having been brought on a chronological journey in the first third of the book, readers are suddenly dropped into Matthews’ strained efforts to work hard at his educational studies in High School whilst concealing his true identity. It was about ten or so pages on, when Matthews refers to his mother’s presence while growing up that I wondered if the book would have benefitted from a structural rejig.
Another World is a starting point for anyone wanting to better understand a minority subsection of American society. As someone who self-identifies as a white woman living in the United Kingdom, it has given me plenty to think about. That alone should be treated as a success.
Reedsy Discovery Review: AEB Reviews – “Another World”
Purchase Link: “Another World” by Maximillian Matthews (Amazon)