“It takes a long time to accept yourself for who you are. To see the poetry in your walk. To look in the mirror and like what you see even when it doesn’t look like anybody else’s idea of beauty.” ~The Skin I’m In
I just finished reading The Skin I’m In and let’s just say I’m shook. Sharon G. Flake wrote a phenomenal narrative that needs to be read. It tells the story of Maleeka Madison, a girl who is bullied for her dark skin and homemade clothes, and her encounter with a teacher who is bullied for her skin condition. Neither one expects that the other would change them so much.
Heart-wrenching descriptions of Maleeka’s experience show just how detrimental bullying can be and the deep psychological scars it can leave. I could never imagine being bullied in the ways depicted in this story but not always seeing myself as beautiful is something I can relate too, and something I’m sure most of us can. Focusing on a realistic view of self-love and confidence, I like how not everything is completely perfect at the end of the narrative. Learning to love who we are and how we look is an on-going process and can’t be totally grasped in the snapshot of one’s life that a book could capture.
This story also exposes the danger of toxic friendships and how people who appear to love us can be antagonistic or passive when it counts. It’s beautiful to see Maleeka’s growth in courage and resolve over the course of the book and to witness how writing in her diary helped her handle all the pain. Truly beautiful and unapologetic, this novel is one that I will probably come back to again.