An acclaimed memoir from the winner of the Ernest Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence. This is the story of a young man growing up in a small black neighborhood in Oregon blighted by drugs, violence, poverty and governmental neglect.
'A mesmerising book, full of story, truth, pain, lyricism, humour and astonishment: the stuff of a difficult life, fully lived, and masterfully transformed into art' SALMAN RUSHDIE
'Intimate and wise, poignant and compassionate, redemptive and raw. You have to read this beautiful book' CHERYL STRAYED, author of Wild
An electrifying, dazzlingly written reckoning and an essential addition to the conversation about race and class, Survival Math takes its name from the calculations that award-winning author Mitchell S. Jackson made to survive the Portland, Oregon, of his youth.
This dynamic book explores gangs and guns, near-death experiences, sex work, masculinity, composite fathers, the concept of 'hustle' and the destructive power of addiction - all framed within the story of Jackson, his family and his community.
Mitchell S. Jackson presents a microcosm of struggle and survival in contemporary urban America - an exploration of the forces that shaped his life, his city, and the lives of so many black men like him. As Jackson charts his own path from drug dealer to published novelist, he gives us a heartbreaking, fascinating, lovingly rendered view of the injustices and victories, large and small, that defined his youth.
'Jackson's mesmerizing voice and style draws you into the survival calculations for millions of American kids and families, revealing a need-to-know reality for all of us' PIPER KERMAN, author of Orange is the New Black
'Jackson's musings skillfully illuminate the bloodlines, both inherited and earned, that pulse through the body of America's gang-graffitied carceral state' TYEHIMBA JESS, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
Jackson's musings skillfully illuminate the bloodlines, both inherited and earned, that pulse through the body of America's gang-graffitied carceral state - Tyehimba Jess, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olio
Survival Math should be praised for many reasons--its literary integrity, its cinematic pace, its creativity and candor. But what I find most striking about this work, what I think distinguishes it, is its heart - Jason Reynolds
Survival Math is the best memoir I've read in ages. With honesty, insight, and a tremendous amount of heart, Mitchell S. Jackson takes us deep into the stories that made, ruined, and saved him. I had the feeling while reading it that I'd never read anything quite like it before. It's intimate and wise; poignant and compassionate; redemptive and raw. You have to read this beautiful book - Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
An extensive and illuminating look at the city of [Jackson's] childhood, exploring issues like sex, violence, addiction, community, and the toll this takes on a person's life - Buzzfeed, Most Anticipated Books of 2019