Wednesday 21 September 2022

#bookreview: Invisible boy: A Memoir of Self-Discovery | Harrison Mooney

Invisible Boy: A Memoir of Self-DiscoveryInvisible Boy: A Memoir of Self-Discovery by Harrison Mooney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Reading Invisible Boy is like refreshing my memory about the weird pentecostal days I grew up in, even though I'm on a whole different continent with vastly different racial and religious tensions.

The book is Mooney's memoir about growing up black in white fundamentalist Christian churches & schools in Canada, but many of the same pervasive and, honestly, skewed messages that festered in white North American churches in the 90s also made its way over to Malaysia. The roots of what I've seen and experienced as echoes all the way over here are exposed in full technicolour in Mooney's experiences. It doesn't help that Malaysia still, on the whole, idealises and idolises whiteness and white proximity; and that Chinese Malaysians are often just as racist, especially with respect to Indians.

Mooney says in his author's note:
I acknowledge here that what is said is not the same as what is meant. It doesn't matter anyhow. Intent is not impact, and if we continue to prioritize the goodness of our thoughts above the violence of our actions, we will leave a trail of victims in our wake. Mine is a story of impact; I write for the millions impacted in similar ways.
I have seen this reflected elsewhere as well, with an acquaintance emphasising that when engaging, impact should be considered before intent. We live in tumultuous times and I think it's worth the wake up call for those who profess to be Christians to consider the unintentional harm the church has caused many communities in the name of Christ, even if the intentions were good.

After all, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Note: I received a digital ARC of this book from Steerforth Press via Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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