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The Way You Make Me Feel: Love in Black and Brown

The Way You Make Me Feel: Love in Black and Brown

A hilarious and moving memoir in essays about love and allyship, told through one Asian and Black interracial relationship.

When Nina Sharma meets Quincy while hitching a ride to a friend’s Fourth of July barbecue, she spots a favorite book, Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, in the back seat of his cramped car, and senses a sadness from him that’s all too familiar to her. She is immediately intrigued—who is this man? In The Way You Make Me Feel, Sharma chronicles her and Quincy’s love story, and in doing so, examines how their Black and Asian relationship becomes the lens through which she moves through and understands the world.

In a series of sensual and sparkling essays, Sharma reckons with caste, race, colorism, and mental health, moving from her seemingly idyllic suburban childhood through her and Quincy’s early sweeping romance in the so-called postracial Obama years and onward to their marriage. Growing up, she hears her parents talk about the racism they experienced at the hands of white America—and as an adult, she confronts the complexities of American racism and the paradox of her family’s disappointment when she starts dating a Black man.

While watching The Walking Dead, Sharma dives into the eerie parallels between the brutal death of Steven Yeun’s character and the murder of Vincent Chin. She examines the trailblazing Mira Nair film Mississippi Masala, revolutionary in its time for depicting a love story between an Indian woman and a Black man on screen, and considers why interracial relationships are so often assumed to include white people. And as she and Quincy decide whether to start a family, they imagine a universe in which Vice President Kamala Harris could possibly be their time-traveling daughter.

Written with a keen critical eye and seamlessly weaving in history, pop culture, and politics, The Way You Make Me Feel reaffirms the idea that allyship is an act of true love.

Book Details

Publisher: Penguin Press
Publish Date: May 7, 2024
ISBN: 9780593492826
Language: English

About the Author

Nina Sharma’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, Electric Literature, Longreads, and The Margins. A graduate of the MFA program at Columbia University, she served as the programs director at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and currently teaches at Columbia and Barnard College. She is a proud cofounder of the all–South Asian women’s improv group Not Your Biwi.

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